NEW YORK—U.S. Army is sending its tanks this week to the countries locate along Russian borders in what appears to be the largest deployment of armor in East Europe since the end of the Cold War, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said on Monday.
“After joint U.S.-Polish exercises in northern Poland on Monday, some of the M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks used in the drills will be transported to the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania,” where they will remain until NATO puts into operation its ‘deterrent force’ sometime in spring.
It quoted the head of a think tank called the European Leadership Network, Adam Thomson, a former U.K. ambassador to NATO, as saying the dispatching of U.S. troops and armor to Europe “shows the allies are implementing their decision to create a small force to better detect any Russian moves in the Baltics and to show Moscow that the alliance’s major powers stand behind its eastern members.”
He said along with it the allies remained concerned over the “mixed messages on NATO” sent by U.S. President Donald Trump and his advisors, who expressed full support to the North-Atlantic pact, on the one hand, and described it as “outmoded”, on the other.
Trump “clearly has issues with the alliance,” Thomson said. “It is a new experience for NATO to be described as obsolete.”
The WSJ recalled a U.S. Army unit known as the Iron Brigade the 3rd Brigade based in Colorado – arrived at the naval base in Bremerhaven, Germany, earlier this month “with about 3,500 soldiers, 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, 87 tanks and 18 Paladin artillery systems.”
It will be deployed in Europe, with headquarters in Poland, for nine months, after which another unit will arrive to replace it. “During its deployment, elements of the brigade will also be sent to Hungary, Poland, Germany and Romania,” the WSJ said.
The newspaper indicated the U.S. had also built up stocks of military hardware in Europe by increasing the number of helicopters and bringing in an additional force of 900 combat-support soldiers.