The US has unveiled fresh details of its plan to create a Russia-deterrent force in eastern Europe, prompting Russia to warn of an “asymmetric response” and of a potential “crisis”.
The Pentagon said in a statement on Wednesday (30 March) that from February 2017 a brigade-sized force will begin rotating its troops in and out of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
The troops – up to 4,500 soldiers – would switch from location to location every nine months and conduct regular exercises with host nation forces.
They’ll bring with them modern tanks and armoured personnel carriers which will be stored in warehouses in the region, gradually replacing older equipment which will be moved to depots in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The new materiel will include 250 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery pieces as well as 1,700 other vehicles and trucks, the US daily the Wall Street Journal said, citing Robert Work, the US deputy defence chief.
Reacting to the news, Russia’s envoy to Nato, Alexander Grushko, told the Russia 24 TV channel on Wednesday: “Certainly, we’ll respond totally asymmetrically.
“We are not passive observers, we consistently take all the military measures we consider necessary in order to counterbalance this reinforced presence that is not justified by anything.”
Grushko added that if Nato yielded to Georgian and Ukrainian overtures to join the military alliance: “This would explode the situation and put Europe on the brink of a crisis, whose size and scale can’t be imagined today.”
Full article: US military plans for Europe prompt Russian warning (EU Observer)