The US military presence in the Baltic states violates a key NATO-Russian agrement, the Russian Defense Ministry said on October 12.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said that “contrary to all the statements of NATO and the United States about the ‘insignificant’ amount of troops being sent to Russia’s borders, now it is not a brigade that has been deployed, but a mechanized division of the US Armed Forces, where in two hours, prepared personnel can be transferred from the nearest American base in Europe (Ramstein, Germany).”
The general refered the fact that while the US 2nd Armored brigade arrived in Poland, vehicles of the US 3rd brigade still remains in the country.
Konashenkov added that the ongoing media campaign over the Russia-Belarus military drills “Zapad-2017” is a media operation to cover the growing US military presence.
“Amid the Zapad-2017 military exercise, the ‘rotation’ of the US 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team under the Operation Atlantic Resolve plan was held in Poland and the Baltic states. All the equipment of this brigade — 87 M1A1 Abrams tanks, M109 Paladin howitzers, 144 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and around a hundred other vehicles — must have remained there. The personnel of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team must have been replaced by the servicemen of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team in order for the NATO-Russia Founding Act not to be violated,” he said.
Earlier in October, the NATO launched a multinational force to counter Russian presence in the Black Sea. The force is to be built around a Romanian brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers, supported by troops from nine other NATO countries. It’s going to complement a separate deployment of 900 US troops who are already in place. Romania and Poland are the biggest troop contributors. Bulgaria, Italy and Portugal will participate in regular exercises with the force.