Pentagon sending soldiers and tanks to ‘reassure’ allies

The US Defense Department announced Wednesday that around 600 soldiers from the Army’s 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division will deploy to Poland and the Baltic states in October, reports independent military news source Stars and Stripes.

The deployment is meant to help reassure European allies who feel threatened by recent Russian military moves, the Pentagon said.

The troops and their equipment — which include M-1 Abrams tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers — will go to Europe in October for a three-month series of training exercises.

The soldiers, based at Fort Hood, Texas, are replacing about 600 paratroopers from the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is based in Vicenza, Italy. The “Sky Soldiers” have been conducting exercises with Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia since April as part of ongoing Operation Atlantic Resolve.

“These land training exercises … help foster interoperability through small unit and leader training,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said.

In addition to ground forces, the U.S. has also sent F-16 combat aircraft to Poland and participated in NATO air policing missions over the Baltics.

The exercises came at the request of host nations that fear a resurgent Russia, which annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine earlier this year and continues to support a pro-Russia separatist movement in eastern Ukraine.

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