“We are fully ready to be lethal,” Gventer said during a press conference on Monday.
The battle group is being deployed in Poland in line with the decision to place four multinational battalions in the Baltics, agreed by NATO last year.
The three other battle groups will be headed by Britain, Canada and Germany, with other NATO members, including France, also making their contribution. They are expected to be operational by June.
The buildup near Russian borders is explained by NATO as being due to the need to reassure the bloc’s eastern European allies in view of Russia’s reunification with Crimea, Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and what NATO calls overall “aggressive” behavior by Russia.
In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed NATO for endangering global peace by trying to provoke a conflict with Moscow through its “newly-declared official mission to deter Russia.”
Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov warned that “the steps by NATO gravely increase the risk of incidents” between the alliance and Russian forces.
Apart from the buildup on its borders, Moscow is also concerned by the new US ground-based missile defense system in Eastern Europe and increased presence of NATO vessels in the Black Sea.