US expands Baltic presence as a measure of “deterrence”
The article originally appeared at German Economic News. Translated for RI by Alexander Samarkin
The USA are going to deploy Patriot-missile systems to Poland, that will be used in a large scale NATO war game. Prior to this, Russia had announced the deployment of short-range missiles to Kaliningrad.
The USA have expanded their military presence in Poland with the deployment of 30 military vehicles and 100 troops. These are supposed to take part in several US-led NATO maneuvers. The US state department announced in a note:
„This week the U.S. Army deployed to Poland about 30 vehicles and 100 troops from the 5th Battalion/7th Air Defense Regiment, based in Germany. The U.S. soldiers will train for several days with Polish troops from the 37th Missile Squadron of Air Defense, the 38th Support Squadron, and the 3rd Brigade of Air Defense Command. The American forces will set up their Patriot air and missile defense assets in Poland to demonstrate the U.S. Army’s capacity to deploy Patriot systems rapidly within NATO territory. Training elements will include defending high value assets, ground forces, and population areas from ballistic missiles and air strikes.“
In this context the US are engaged in expanding NATO presence in the Baltic states. The US State Department conceded that NATO wants to push measures of deterrence:
„American troops have been training continuously in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to NATO and our Article 5 responsibilities. Operation Atlantic Resolve is designed to reassure allies, demonstrate freedom of movement and deter regional aggression on the eastern flank of NATO. The mission began in response to Russia’s armed support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea a year ago.“
Before, Russia had announced the deployment of strategic supersonic bombers of the type Tu-22M on Crimea. Furthermore Putin put 40.000 Russian troops on alert and has them perform a military maneuver with the Northern fleet. Moreover short-range missiles of the type Iskander-M are to be deployed to Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave which is located between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea. Russia‘s Baltic fleet resides in the port town as well.
The deployment of the Patriot-missiles is a direct reaction of the USA to the deployment of Russian Iskander-M short-range missiles. Poland‘s minister of defense Tomasz Siemoniak acknowledged on Tuesday that the Patriot-missiles are specifically to be used in the scope of a large scale maneuver, reports AP. According to Siemoniak a total of 10.000 foreign troops are to take part in NATO maneuvers over the course of the year.