US tanks arrive in Latvia amid NATO expands towards Russia
Story Code : 607767
Accompanied by the US Army's 3rd Brigade, 225 soldiers, 15 M1 Abrams tanks, six Bradley fighting vehicles and other military equipment arrived in Latvia’s northern municipality of Garkalne, Vidzeme, on Wednesday.
The soldiers, who will be replacing those from 173rd Brigade, will operate in Latvia as part of NATO’s Atlantic Resolve operation, which is aimed at deterring what the US-led alliance calls “Russian aggression.”
Earlier this week, over 50 units of US military equipment, including four battle tanks and 15 infantry fighting vehicles were deployed to Tapa, a city in northern Estonia, another Baltic state.
“The movement of equipment and troops into and around Europe marks the beginning of a continuous rotation of armored brigade combat teams from the United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve,” read a statement by US State Department.
“Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine,” it added.
NATO and Moscow have been at loggerheads over Russia’s alleged role in the ongoing Ukraine conflict which has taken thousands of lives.
The military alliance severed its ties with Moscow in 2014, after the Ukraine-controlled Baltic peninsula of Crimea rejoined Russia in a historic referendum.
Ever since then, Russia has been deploying weapons and equipment to Russia’s borders, a move that was authorized by former US President Barack Obama.
In early January, the US military began the deployment of hundreds of combat vehicles such as tanks and artillery guns along with 3,500 troops to Germany.
The US-NATO cooperation has been hurdled since the inauguration of Obama’s successor, Donald Trump.
The new president has called NATO “obsolete,” demanding its members to either pay up for US support or rely on their own military power.