(GPA) Berlin – Hundreds of US tanks arrived in Germany Friday to be transported by rail and road to Poland to continue the saber rattling between NATO and Russia.
Two ships full of around 2,500 US armored vehicles, as well as about 4,000 US military personnel arrived in the German port city of Bremerhaven to participate in NATO ‘massing’ exercises on Russia’s border. According to US defense representatives, this is all part of an ongoing reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
— US Army Europe (@USArmyEurope) January 8, 2017
The new arrival of NATO forces has been dubbed “Operation Atlantic Resolve.” The new divisions are expected to arrive in Poland throughout this week and then move throughout Eastern Europe following the massing drill.
Deputy commander of U.S. European Command, Air Force Lieutenant General Tim Ray, delivered a short address to press in Bremerhaven, saying that this deployment is “one part of our efforts to deter Russian aggression, ensure the territorial integrity of our allies and maintain a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace.” Ray also said NATO has a “rock-solid commitment” to their European partners.
This is all a part of an ongoing pivot in NATO and US policy to ramp up the strength of US forces in Europe after over 20 years of a steady decline following the fall of the Soviet Union. Although the Soviets are gone, it is clear Russia is still the target since the US forces will be moving from Poland to the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Romania and Bulgaria.
There is also more military hardware and troops on the way in the wake of the armored divisions. The US army is expected to dispatch two aviation battalions to Europe, one of which will include another estimated 1,800 personnel with 50 Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. The second aviation group will include 24 Apache helicopters and another 400 personnel.
The armored divisions’ arrival comes after the story broke last week in the New York Times that there were already US special forces active in the Baltic nation of Lithuania. There are also new commitments by other NATO members including Canada, Britain and Germany, to have a continued presence of about 1,000 troops throughout each of the Baltic states.
It seems that even with the inauguration of the next more pro-Russian US president, Donald Trump right around the corner, that NATO is willing to continue the escalations with Russia. Even outside of NATO, members of Trump’s own Republican Party such as the infamous John McCain, who recently toured Eastern Europe and called for a permanent US presence in the Baltics, look to continue pushing Russophobia as the future of US foreign policy.