03:56 GMT23 June 2021
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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

    The Pentagon's massive deployment to Eastern Europe and the Baltics, which has seen the US send approximately 4,000 troops and military equipment to the region, "ratchets up tensions" and increases confrontation with Russia, security analyst Charles Shoebridge, a former counterterrorism officer at the British Army, told Radio Sputnik.

    "To many people it might be reassuring that American and NATO tanks, aircraft and troops are being deployed to these regions, but I've seen interviews with people who are actually quite disturbed by this because of course it ratchets up tensions, it increases and escalates confrontation," the analyst explained. "When you've got a lot of militaries on both sides of this border crammed into small areas, of course it just increases the possibility of some kind of mistake happening and then escalating."

    The latest deployment is part of NATO's larger effort to build up its military presence in the post-Soviet space, using Russia's supposed meddling in the Ukrainian affairs as a pretext, something the Kremlin has consistently denied. This policy has greatly complicated the bloc's relations with Russia since Moscow views NATO's activities as posing a threat to its security and regional stability.

    American troops and military equipment, including 87 Abrams M1A1 tanks, 20 Paladin artillery vehicles and 136 Bradley fighting vehicles arrived in the German port of Bremerhaven on January 6. They were expected to be distributed across Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania for training, exercises and maintenance.

    Apparently, the deployment did not go exactly as planned. Some tanks were brought to Europe with dead batteries, while others lacked sufficient fuel. In addition, several heavy armored vehicles are reported to have been damaged as they struck bridges on the way from Germany to Poland. Five vehicles are still in Germany.  

    Defense officials and military commanders from the US and NATO "will say that this is exactly what this exercise is designed to achieve. But when you've got tanks damaging bridges or sitting in ports for week when they should be exercising, it's an indication that this wasn't what the exercise was designed to achieve, but that they are actually wasting time, money and training facilities," Shoebridge said. "And that's of course quite aside from the issues as to whether this operation is necessary in terms of political and security aspects anyway."

    The security analyst further pointed out that one could expect similar issues to plague other US and NATO deployments.

    "It is quite worrying that there has been, let's say, really quite a clear lack of preparation beforehand as to whether the deployment was itself going to work," he added. "I think this is indicative of a much wider and broader problem about logistics and about the outsourcing to private contractors."

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)


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    tensions, muscle-flexing, saber-rattling, military buildup, military deployment, NATO expansion, NATO buildup, NATO, Baltic Region, Eastern Europe, Poland, Germany, US, Russia
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