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    U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at the M1A2 Abrams battle tank during a military exercise at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade some 60km.(38 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, April 9, 2015

    US to Deploy Battle Tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Poland in 2016

    © AP Photo / Mindaugas Kulbis
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    The United States will send heavy military equipment to Poland next year, Poland's defense minister said on Thursday, as part of Washington’s efforts to reassure regional allies uneasy over the conflict in Ukraine.

    Polish Defense Minister said the equipment will be positioned somewhere in the west and northeast of the country sometime in mid-2016.

    While Siemoniak did not specify what type of equipment the United States will deploy, an anonymous US official told Reuters in June that the Pentagon was poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons in the region for as many as 5,000 troops.

    The move will mark the first time since the Cold War that Washington has stored heavy military equipment in newer NATO member states in Eastern Europe and the Baltics that were once under Soviet influence.

    Russia has continuously warned that the United States' and NATO's increased activities and amassing of weapons near its borders are provocative, and undermine regional and international stability.

    US Army serviceman jumps from armored vehicle during the NATO Wind Spring 15 military exercise at Smardan military shooting range on April 21, 2015
    © AFP 2019 / DANIEL MIHAILESCU
    US Army serviceman jumps from armored vehicle during the NATO "Wind Spring 15" military exercise at Smardan military shooting range on April 21, 2015

    In June, Russia said if the United States went ahead and deployed heavy arms in eastern Europe and the Baltics, Moscow would strengthen its forces on its Western flank.

    Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg denied that such shipments of heavy weaponry from the United States to Eastern Europe and the Baltics is a move meant to provoke Russia.

    Tags:
    NATO, Cold War, Jens Stoltenberg, Tomasz Siemoniak, Baltic Region, Russia, Poland, United States
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