The United States Army intends to deploy nearly 150 tanks and armored vehicles to Eastern Europe by the end of next year, according to a top American General, in a move designed to reassure its allies in the region.
After Russia annexed the Crimea and moved troops into Eastern Ukraine earlier this year, the United States launched an ongoing training mission to Poland and the Baltic countries, Operation Atlantic Resolve. As Military Times notes, the mission is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Army Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges noted that nearly 50 armored vehicles are already in place, while nearly 100 M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles will be moved to Europe.
— Trending NATO News (@NATOlizer) November 26, 2014
“We are looking at courses of action for how we could pre-position equipment that we would definitely want to put inside a facility where it would be better maintained, that rotational units could then come and draw on it and use it to train – or for contingency purposes,” he said.
As Yahoo News notes, Hodges also observed that he will soon make a recommendation on whether some of the tanks and armored vehicles should be stored among NATO’s members in Eastern Europe. He stated that the arrangement would be cheaper and far more efficient for the training mission than shipping tanks across the Atlantic.
“The troops will come over and train, and they’ll go back. The equipment will stay behind,” he said.
— The Independent (@Independent) August 29, 2014
According to the Daily Mail, the plan was revealed as U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, head of U.S. forces in Europe, stated during a visit to Kiev that Russia’s militarization of the Crimea meant it could influence the entirety of the Black Sea region. While meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss assistance for Kiev, Breedlove noted that Russian troops were providing support to rebel forces. Russia has denied sending troops or equipment to the rebels, as the Inquisitr has previously noted.
While the United States has 29,000 soldiers permanently stationed in Germany, Italy, and Belgium, it has stepped up deployments for training exercises in Europe. Lt. General Hodges noted that the decision to move tanks and heavy equipment into the area is designed to signal America’s support to its Eastern European allies.
[Image: Sgt. David Turner/Army via Military Times]