Baltic: US Sends Heavy Military Equipment Amid Russia Threat

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Baltic: US Sends Heavy Military Equipment Amid Russia Threat
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According to the Latvian Ministry of Defense, The United States on Monday delivered over 120 heavy military equipment to the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in order to prevent Russian aggression and not let Mr. Putin advance further into Europe.

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The equipment, including M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2A3 Bradley armored vehicles, Scout Humvees as well as support equipment, was delivered to the port of Riga, the capital of Latvia. These deliveries are supposed to “demonstrate resolve to President [Vladimir] Putin and Russia that collectively we can come together,” US Major General John R. O’Connor told AFP while overseeing the arrival of the equipment. The armored vehicles would stay “for as long as required to deter Russian aggression,” he said, and added, “Freedom must be fought for, freedom must be defended,” as reported by the US Embassy Riga Twitter feed.

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Furthermore, Latvian Minister of Defense Raymond Vejonis welcomed the initiative to deliver yet more tanks and armored vehicles by saying on Twitter that “the presence of our allies (US and NATO) in Latvia is a confirmation of solidarity and security in the region”.

The heavy military equipment transfer comes amid tensions between Washington and Moscow over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year. While Western powers accuse Moscow in the presence of its troops in the eastern Ukraine, and while the Kremlin denies such allegations, NATO plans to expand its military presence in Eastern Europe and help its vulnerable states against Russian aggression.

However, it is important to remember that Russia has not just one weapon to destabilize Baltic states, it is also quite skillful and effective with its media propaganda, political and energy pressure as well as cyber warfare.

The Baltic states and Poland have repeatedly expressed the wish that US troops be deployed in the region on a regular basis, claiming they fear that Russia could attack them any second. There are currently over 150 US troops in Latvia.

On March 6, NATO forces conducted military drills in Latvia, which included training to spot enemy positions, calling in indirect fire support, battlefield first aid as well as tactic training with their Latvian partners.

At the end of 2014, numerous NATO states reported the provocative drills of Russia’s warships, warplanes and air force jets spotted near the borders of the Baltic states.

NATO forces held around 200 military drills in 2014, with the alliance’s General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg having promised that such exercises would continue. Additionally, as confirmed by a spokesman for the US Embassy in Poland, the deployment of US troops in Poland and the Baltic states has been extended through 2015.

NATO to increase its troops in Europe up to 30,000

In February, it was announced by the NATO’s General Secretary that the alliance’s Rapid Deployment Force in Europe might be increased up to 30,000 troops (more than double of the today’s 13,000), with the troops set to be stationed near the Russian borders. According to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Response Force will consist of brigades, sea and air-based elements and special task troops, with the spearhead of it to be 5,000 servicemen stationed in six command centers in Eastern Europe.

With about50 officers in each, these six Rapid Deployment Force units will be stationed in the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, and are trained to be capable of responding to any threat from Russia’s side. If required, Rapid Deployment Force can be deployed in just two days, with the remaining 25,000 troops to become operational within a week.

On top of that, US is planning to expand its operation from the Baltic to the Black Sea, with Romania and Bulgaria already on board with the initiative to create a so-called ‘southern’ flank. And according to US Army officials, Georgia, Hungary and the Czech Republic are also interested to assist.

“So by the end of the summer, you could very well see an operation that stretches from the Baltics all the way down to the Black Sea,” Defense News reports the words of Colonel Michael Foster, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Italy, on March 2. “As you connect countries, there is almost a line of US troops,” he added.

The Baltic states need to protect themselves for 72 hours

The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite, who compared the Russian President Vladimir Putin to Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler back in summer 2014, has recently said that the Baltic states are facing a real threat and must be prepared to independently protect themselves for 72 hours in case of a military aggression until NATO allies arrive to help.

On March 5, when asked by foreign journalists about the planned restoration of conscription in Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite said: “We had conscription before 2008, and we thought that it will never be necessary. But with a changing geopolitical situation around our borders, we realized that the threats are very real. The threats are real for our whole region, all Baltic states, and our neighborhood has become less predictable and more aggressive, I mean Russia,” Baltic news service Delfi reports.

The Lithuanian President also spoke out on the subject of the recent uptick in Russian military activity in the Kaliningrad region as well as in the Baltic Sea and in the air. “We know the procedures in NATO. The Rapid Deployment Force can start to work at least from 72 hours. But our nations in the Baltics are quite small. We need to protect ourselves at least for these 72 or more hours,” she said.

Speaking to the Lithuanian journalists, Grybauskaite emphasized that Lithuanians must defend their country as an information war against the Baltic states is already underway. “Already we are in the front line, and the first stage of confrontation is taking place: I mean the informational war, propaganda and cyber-attacks. So we are already under attack. Will it be extended to conventional confrontation? Nobody knows. But already now we need to defend ourselves from this aggressive behavior,” she said.

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Polina Tikhonova is a writer, journalist and a certified translator. Over the past 7 years, she has worked for a wide variety of top European, American, Russian, and Ukrainian media outlets. Polina holds a Master's Degree in English Philology from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Saint Petersburg State University. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian.
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37 COMMENTS

  1. “RUSSIA’S THREAT!?”

    “NATO says it will use “any means” necessary to protect
    itself from Russia as it deploys a significant number of troops and heavy
    military equipment to Russia’s borders.”

    Let’s dissect this incredible statement, shall we.

    NATO – in direct violation of promises and guarantees given to Russia (mainly during the E German unification talks) “NEVER” to expand NATO “ONE INCH” towards Russia, or in any way which threatened Russian sovereignty and/or safety – has [since 1991] done exactly that; gobbled up practically
    every former Warsaw Pact and Baltic nation into NATO, and is currently eyeing the Ukraine which – if successfully added to NATO – would complete the encirclement of Russia with potential enemies right on Russia’s doorstep. Add to that the US pouring equipment, weapons, and troops into these nations, training their troops to fight Russia, and conducting ‘War Games’ literally right in front of Russia’s sight, can be
    called nothing other than naked provocation.

    Additionally, add to all this the fact that the US – unlike Russia – has abrogated its ABM treaty, falsely accuses Russia of “invading eastern Ukraine,” “invading Georgia,” “taking the Crimea,” and imposing crippling ‘Sanctions’ on Russia, and you have a deadly cocktail where the world is merely one provocation
    too many for an all-out military response from either the US or Russia which – of course – would eventually spell nuclear exchange.

    It is the US, its ‘Western’ and ‘East Block’ allies which have aggressed towards Russia’s borders, and if any armed conflict occurs from this, the fault can be laid directly at the US/NATO’s feet.

  2. I thought anyone with an I.Q. over two digits would know there are no jungles in Afghanistan and Afghans are not Arabs. Arabs are Semites, not so Afghans.

  3. This depiction of the Afghans people as jungle Arabs is an insult to any Afghan – – – the term is rather racist and depicts your meager understanding of the geopolitical concerns of the world.

  4. You sound like one of Obama’s Marxist thugs. How many people have you attacked today because they don’t agree with you. You’re problem is that you don’t know how to have an argument. You thug.

  5. I am an American and I speak and write the language, you should learn English, you should have spelled, “It is only cowards who steal land”, instead you wrote “its & steel”, a possessive pronoun and complete different word. So now, we have settled who is the smart person here. In America we use dollars. You should stop posting about things you don’t know, for starters you could go back to school.

  6. NATO seeks regime change in Russia – envoy

    The latest statements by the deputy head of NATO testify to the fact that the leaders of the bloc want to intervene in Russia’s internal politics, and are “dreaming of Russian Maidan.” This is the view of Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO.

    “The speech in Riga demonstrates the concern about Russia’s democracy and internal policy. At last, now we know that NATO has a dream, and this dream is a Maidan in Russia,” Aleksandr Grushko said in comment that was tweeted through the Russian representation office in the alliance.
    Grushko referred to the words of NATO’s deputy secretary general, Alexander Vershbow, who had told a conference in the Latvian capital Riga that President Vladimir Putin’s “aim seems to be to turn Ukraine into a failed state and to suppress and discredit alternative voices in Russia, so as to prevent a Russian ‘Maidan.'” Both officials used the Ukrainian word ‘Maidan’ to describe a string of protest actions that eventually turned into mass unrest and the ousting of the legally elected president and parliament.
    “By demonizing Russia, NATO creates a virtual reality, disconnecting itself from real threats to security,” the Russian envoy said.
    Grushko added that NATO itself has used “hybrid warfare” against foreign states and now the alliance is attempting to accuse Russia of starting such a war in Ukraine.
    “NATO has a long history of hybrid operations. Any country or organization can take a lesson from it. We have earlier seen these signs of military intimidation, hidden involvement, weapons supplies,economic blackmail, diplomatic duplicity, mass media manipulations and open disinformation,” the Russian envoy stated.
    “The statement made in Riga is yet another set of arguments seeking only to justify NATO’s confrontational attitude to Russia,” he said.

    “It is not likely that NATO has the right to consider itself the sole source of truth. The alliance has repeatedly discredited itself by spreading false information both about its own behavior and about the actions of others,” Grushko said in conclusion. “Not many will follow NATO’s advice to return to the times of the Cold War,” he forecasted.

    Read moreWest must admit its mistakes to improve security in Europe – envoy

    In October last year, Grushko urged Western nations to acknowledge their policy faults and improve relations with Russia.

    “We and our Western partners, first of all Europe, must recognize that their policies of the past few years are only deepening the dividing lines between Russia and Europe, and this is extremely dangerous,” the Russian diplomat said. “The West must eventually acknowledge the fact that the mechanical implementation of its recent policies is leading itself into a dead end.”

  7. This story is complete BS. So, the U.S. deploys some armor in the Baltic as a statement to Russia and its resolve. Russia has weapons to take out that armor and has more tanks than the U.S. If Russia decided, with the U.S. on its border, The Baltics could be taken with ease and in two days. Sadly, this article doesn’t report, that although the U.S. is putting in weapons in these countries, it is those countries that would be destroyed by Russia and its tactical nukes. Russian subs are also sitting off the coast of the U.S. and vice verse

  8. T-60’s. T-72s. T-80s went to smoke with M1 Abrams in the Iraq war. Iraqis abandoned them in the middle of the fight and many of these weak Russian tanks were left burned to the ground. Russian guns just can’t penetrate Abram armor, this is why Putin is so dedicated in replacing Russia’s rusted 20,000 tank forces for (2,000 pieces) Armata in a rush production till 2020. You can’t hide it, Russian T-tank series are junkies.

  9. Once deployment is complete Russia is stock with his other friends territories like Kirghistan, Uzbekistan and those he call friends to start land grabbing them after Ukraine because as of this moment NATO is already putting up the barricades and high walls along EU borders.

  10. Dear Baltic states. We will be rotating these troops in three months. They needed some “vacation” and “exercise”. Replacements will bring their own equipment. Please feel free to donate what they leave behind as they belong to you. Out of our control. To Russia, with love……Obama.

  11. LMAO, LOL!

    Like all that junk is going to matter.

    All it does is giving these fools a false sense of confidence.

    Both the US of A and Russia knows that, LMAO!

    If I was running these nations that got these junk the only things I would allowed or want are missiles, tons of missiles!!!
    (Nuclear tipped too)

    Fools, sheeps, fools.

    LMAO, LOL!

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