The US will pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in Eastern and Central Europe, including in Romania, US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter announced on Tuesday while in Tallinn, Estonia, Reuters informs. The US is thus trying to reassure its NATO allies unsettled by the Russian intervention in Ukraine.
Carter stated that the Baltic States – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia –, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland have agreed to host elements of this equipment. Some of the equipment will be moved to Germany.
The equipment includes 250 tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and howitzers. The quantity of equipment pre-positioned in each country will be sufficient to equip a company or a battalion – 150 or 750 soldiers. Most of the equipment is already in Europe, ziare.com informs.
After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula last year, NATO leaders agreed to accelerate military exercises and the rotation of forces in Eastern Europe and to pre-position equipment in this region, in order to be used in case of emergency.
The US has not officially revealed where exactly in Europe the equipment will be stored, however Russia has reacted ahead of Carter’s trip to Europe this week. A Russian defence official stated that the pre-positioning of tanks and heavy weapons in NATO states bordering Russia is the most aggressive action taken by Americans since the end of the Cold War. President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will add another 40 ICBMs to its nuclear arsenal this year. Carter however condemned Russia’s nuclear “rhetoric.”
Parliament gives its green light
Parliament’s joint plenum approved on Tuesday President Klaus Iohannis’s request concerning the establishment of the NATO Joint Force Command and of the Multinational Divisional Headquarters in Bucharest.
The President’s request, sent to Parliament on May 18, has been unanimously approved, with 283 votes in favour, Mediafax informs.
The Head of State signed on April 16 the decree through which the Ministry of Defence received a green light for “the setting up of command and force structures that would be placed at NATO’s disposal for the fulfilment of specific missions.”