West and Russia jockey for position in eastern Europe as details of Washington and Warsaw deal emerge

Tensions between the West and Russia over eastern Europe escalated on Friday as details emerged of a deal between Washington and Warsaw to permanently deploy US heavy military hardware to Poland by next year.

The American deployment, aimed at assuaging concern over the threat posed by Russia to Polish and regional security, came as EU diplomats attempted to lure Moscow ally Belarus in from the cold by agreeing to drop sanctions against its president, Alexander Lukashenko.

Poland’s defence ministry said the American equipment, which could include tanks, armoured personnel carriers and ammunition, will be stored under an agreement signed earlier this week.