In addition to the latest Iran drama and the ongoing North Korean crisis, the United States now finds itself under fire from Russia for allegedly violating a peace treaty between Moscow and the Western military pact NATO. Russia views the Pentagon’s efforts in deploying a new force in the tense Baltic region as nothing but the latest of several Western maneuvers which Russia views as provocations.
Russia has vowed to respond.
The arrival of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was announced by the U.S. on Thursday. The Cavalry will be located in a Polish NATO outpost located approximately 100 miles from Russia’s militarized enclave of Kaliningrad.
Washington badly wants to strengthen allied nations against what they perceive to be a military threat from neighboring Russia and the troops on this mission represent the latest attempt to do just that. Moscow, however, has a different perspective on what is going Moscow has accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of undermining Russia’s own security by surrounding it with hostile forces.
The United States is defending its actions by explaining its agenda requires finding foreign enemies and this situation results in the establishment of military bases near the borders of both Russia and China.
A number of Russian officials, including lawmakers from the Foreign Affairs Committees of both houses of the country’s parliament, have criticized the move.
Vladimir Shamanov, Head of the Defense Committee for Russia’s Lower House of Parliament, said the U.S. is trying to simply flex its muscles and his country is ready to do whatever it takes to discourage any kind of an increase of U.S. military influence in the region, even if it means adding more nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles on its side of the border.
“This creates prerequisites that may eventually enable them to create a certain stronghold. We will surely not turn a blind eye on this. We will take retaliatory measures,” Shamanov said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.
“Not just personnel, but combat equipment. For instance, the group of Iskanders, including that in Kaliningrad, may be increased,” he added.
The Russian Defense Ministry also weighed in on Thursday, condemning the deployment of U.S. troops, accusing the U.S. of acting the way it did due to pressure it felt from the media to respond to Moscow’s massive Zapad-2017 military exercises, which took place last month mostly in Belarus. A number of Western outlets reported on how the large-scale Russian military mobilization could have lingering effects on the region, something Moscow adamantly denied.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the U.S. is “preparing for the aggression” by stationing the 2nd Cavalry Regiment across Russia’s border without removing the military equipment of U.S. forces previously posted there. He said that is the move that violated the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. The agreement was put in place to end decades of Cold War turmoil between the two sides and states that “NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries.”
The relationship between Russia and the United States was in a state of deterioration while Barack Obama was in office. Following the election of President Donald Trump, there existed a brief period of rest and relief from the previously ongoing tensions between the two nations. Now, however, relationships appear to be taking a turn for the worst yet again.
The White House and Kremlin have pledged to work together in taking down the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Syria, but both sides are still having difficulty agreeing with the other’s various global interests.
[Featured Image by Alexei Druzhinin/AP Images]