A nervous and wary United States came to agreement with several NATO countries to deploy more heavy equipment in the Balkans and Eastern Europe in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and throughout the region. The move will greatly expand the US, and their NATO allies’, ability to quickly react to any further expansion of aggression on the part of Russia.
Russia has shown no willingness to scale down its activities in Ukraine and continually scoffs at the idea that they have troops directly involved in the fighting in Eastern Ukraine, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The outright annexation of Crimea and other bold and aggressive acts on the part of the Russian’s has established a heightened concern in the region that has not been seen since the Cold War ended. Some experts warn that Putin’s strategy in the region is to reform the old Soviet empire, and there is some evidence of that after aggressive Russian campaigns in both Georgia and Ukraine over the last decade. Extreme economic sanctions that have been put into place by America and its allies have had a pronounced effect on the Russian economy, but little if no effect on Russian policies in the region.
NATO has talked for months about establishing a rapid reaction force in the region to be able to respond to any threats against its allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. The announcement of the stationing of heavy equipment in the region seems to be the first sign of moving forward at an accelerated pace to actually establish that rapid reaction presence.
The heavy equipment will comprise of some 160 M-1 Abrams tanks, numerous M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and heavy self-propelled artillery. In all, it was said that it would be about a company’s worth of equipment that would most likely be spread across the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. There is a distinct possibility that countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and others could have equipment placed there too, or have it rotate through them during exercises. By having the equipment already there, it would also save the US the critical weeks or months that it would take the equipment to get to the region in response to a crisis.
Countries such as Poland have been critical of NATO’s response to the current crisis in the region, and have lost confidence in NATO’s ability to come to their aid in the event of a full blown escalation in the region. The Polish government has been critical of how NATO members, such as Germany, have reacted to events in the region and has openly said they will rely more on direct help from the USA.
It remains unclear where all this is heading in terms of a larger conflict, but tensions in the region are at a level that has not been seen in decades. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and a de-escalation of hostilities will be the chosen course of action.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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