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The U.S. Army will be sending tanks to the Baltics this week in the largest such deployment since the Cold War, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The step is aimed at reassuring America's European allies that Washington remains committed to their defense. Following joint U.S.-Polish exercises in northern Poland on January 31, some of the M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks used in the drills will be transported to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where they will remain until the new NATO deterrence force is operational in the spring.

The exercises were planned before Donald Trump was elected President of the U.S. in November. Since then, allied officials have privately expressed concerns about the administration's policy toward NATO and whether the White House would curtail the deployment.

The dispatching of U.S. troops and armor to Europe demonstrates that the NATO members are implementing their decision to create a small force to better detect any Russian moves in the Baltics as well as shows Moscow that the alliances' major powers stand behind its eastern members, said Adam Thomson, a former U.K. Ambassador to NATO and head of think tank European Leadership Network.

The U.S. company-sized unit of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army currently stationed at Tapa is to leave Estonia in the second half of February as it is replaced by a company-sized unit of the 68th Armor Regiment's 1st Battalion.


VES / ERR News


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