US to preposition heavy weapons in Eastern Europe to counter Putin

Military sources are saying that the US is preparing to send tanks, APC's, and heavy weapons to Eastern Europe in order to counter any designs by Russian President Vladimir Putin on newer NATO countries. 

Many of the former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe have become nervous about comments made by Putin and the prepositioning of heavy weapons sends a strong message to the Russian president that the US and NATO are serious about countering any aggression by Russia.

Reuters:

"We will pre-position significant equipment," the official said, commenting on a New York Times report that the Pentagon was poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 troops.

The Polish defence ministry confirmed Warsaw was in talks with the United States about stationing U.S. army equipment warehouses in Poland.

"During talks in Washington in May I have been assured that the decision will be taken soon," the Polish defence ministry tweeted, quoting Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak. "This is another step to increase U.S. presence in Poland and the region."

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to comment on the details of the report, which cited U.S. and allied officials.

The report said the move, if approved, would mark the first time since the Cold War that Washington has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member states in Eastern Europe that once formed part of the Soviet sphere of influence.

The proposal, which seeks to reassure European allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014, is expected to be approved by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the White House before a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels this month, the paper said, quoting senior officials.

Asked about the article, a Pentagon spokesman said no decision had been made about the equipment.

"Over the last few years, the United States military has increased the prepositioning of equipment for training and exercises with our NATO allies and partners," Colonel Steve Warren said.

"The U.S. military continues to review the best location to store these materials in consultation with our allies," he said in a statement.

"At this time, we have made no decision about if or when to move to this equipment."

As it now stood, the Times said, the proposal envisaged that "a company's worth of equipment, enough for about 150 soldiers, would be stored in each of the three Baltic nations: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Enough for a company or possibly a battalion, or about 750 soldiers, would be located in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.

Obviously, 5,000 troops being sent to Eastern Europe in a crisis would not have a material outcome on any battle with the Russian army. But they would be useful as a tripwire force, warning Putin that he would have a continental war on his hands if he made any aggressive moves in Eastern Europe.

It's hard to read the mind of Vladimir Putin, but you have to think that unless he's gone off the deep end, this deterrent move by the US should prove useful to maintain the status quo - at least for the time being.

Military sources are saying that the US is preparing to send tanks, APC's, and heavy weapons to Eastern Europe in order to counter any designs by Russian President Vladimir Putin on newer NATO countries. 

Many of the former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe have become nervous about comments made by Putin and the prepositioning of heavy weapons sends a strong message to the Russian president that the US and NATO are serious about countering any aggression by Russia.

Reuters:

"We will pre-position significant equipment," the official said, commenting on a New York Times report that the Pentagon was poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 troops.

The Polish defence ministry confirmed Warsaw was in talks with the United States about stationing U.S. army equipment warehouses in Poland.

"During talks in Washington in May I have been assured that the decision will be taken soon," the Polish defence ministry tweeted, quoting Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak. "This is another step to increase U.S. presence in Poland and the region."

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to comment on the details of the report, which cited U.S. and allied officials.

The report said the move, if approved, would mark the first time since the Cold War that Washington has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member states in Eastern Europe that once formed part of the Soviet sphere of influence.

The proposal, which seeks to reassure European allies in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014, is expected to be approved by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the White House before a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels this month, the paper said, quoting senior officials.

Asked about the article, a Pentagon spokesman said no decision had been made about the equipment.

"Over the last few years, the United States military has increased the prepositioning of equipment for training and exercises with our NATO allies and partners," Colonel Steve Warren said.

"The U.S. military continues to review the best location to store these materials in consultation with our allies," he said in a statement.

"At this time, we have made no decision about if or when to move to this equipment."

As it now stood, the Times said, the proposal envisaged that "a company's worth of equipment, enough for about 150 soldiers, would be stored in each of the three Baltic nations: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Enough for a company or possibly a battalion, or about 750 soldiers, would be located in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.

Obviously, 5,000 troops being sent to Eastern Europe in a crisis would not have a material outcome on any battle with the Russian army. But they would be useful as a tripwire force, warning Putin that he would have a continental war on his hands if he made any aggressive moves in Eastern Europe.

It's hard to read the mind of Vladimir Putin, but you have to think that unless he's gone off the deep end, this deterrent move by the US should prove useful to maintain the status quo - at least for the time being.