Lieutenant General Ben Hodges has told AFP that the United States Army plans to station up to 150 tanks and armored vehicles in the Baltic states as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The phone interview, conducted with AFP from Estonia saw the newly installed head of US Army forces in Europe confirm that extra personnel would be spending time in the area.
“The troops will come over and train, and they’ll go back. The equipment will stay behind,” Hodges said. “I’m going to look at options that would include distributing this equipment in smaller sets, company-size or battalion-size, perhaps in the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, places like that,”(source)
There are about 29,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany, Belgium, and Italy but temporary deployment and training exercises are being stepped up. These deployments start mid-December when around 600 members of the 1st Calvalry Division arrive for a three month period of training in Eastern Europe. The deployments will go on throughout 2015 and 2016 at the very least according to Hodges.
Although the people of Eastern Europe may welcome the American support in their region, it’s highly unlikely that Vladimir Putin will view the move in the same way. The annexation by Russia of Crimea has made many of its close neighbors nervous that the same may happen to them. NATO is determined that will not be the case.
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