Updated on 10:29 a.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has been actively boosting NATO’s military presence in the former Soviet Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council said Tuesday.
“The United States wants to substantially boost the NATO military contingent in the Baltic states. There are plans to deploy heavy weaponry and military hardware, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, in Estonia, next to the Russian borders,” Mikhail Popov, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, told RIA Novosti in an interview.
“Thus, all facts indicate the intention of the US and NATO leaders to proceed with the approach of deteriorating the relations with Russia. For our part, we think that the determining factor in the relations with NATO is the unacceptability … of the bloc’s military infrastructure advancement toward our borders,” the official added.
In April, the United States sent four airborne units to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to support its NATO allies amid the crisis in eastern Ukraine. US troops numbering some 150 are currently stationed in Estonia. In August, the country’s Defense Ministry confirmed that a US Army armored infantry company equipped with M1 Abrams tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers is being deployed to Estonia.