US to send 3,000 troops to Baltic states

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The US is to send 3,000 troops to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the near future to participate in training exercises, the AP and AFP newswires reported Monday, citing Pentagon sources.

The move came on the same day that Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius met with US secretary of state John Kerry and US Army logistics specialists unloaded a considerable amount of military hardware at Riga port.

The Pentagon says that about 3,000 U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division will deploy to Eastern Europe on a three-month exercise beginning next week, to conduct training exercises with forces from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The deployment is part of an ongoing U.S. military rotation aimed at bolstering support for NATO allies who are worried about escalating aggression by Russia, news agencies reported on Monday night.

Army Colonel Steve Warren said that about 750 U.S. military tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles and equipment arrived in Europe, as part of the deployment. It is expected that over 120 units of US military equipment will be unloaded from the vehicle carrier Liberty Promise at the Riga port. The rest of the cargo will be offloaded in Germany for further distribution to locations in Germany, Poland, and other places where the equipment will be used for other training exercises and to become part of the increased "European Activities Set" - equipment that is kept in Europe for rotational US units to fall in on and train with during their Regionally Aligned Forces training rotations.

The 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division soldiers will take over as the 2nd Cavalry Regiment leaves this month.

He said the exercises would last 90 days and the deployed unit was a "Brigade Combat Team" -- around 3,000 frontline soldiers.

Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia and Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine, the US launched Operation Atlantic Resolve to demonstrate its continued commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the Baltic states and Poland.

In addition NATO is countering Russia by boosting defenses on Europe's eastern flank with a spearhead force of 5,000 troops and command and control elements in the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, reported Latvia's military and defense news portal

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