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    American soldiers attend a official welcome ceremony for the US troops in Zagan, Poland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

    Obama's Last Trick: How to Evade a Russia-NATO Deal

    © AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski
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    The latest deployment of US troops and tanks to Eastern Europe has been arranged in a way that circumvents a Russia-NATO peace deal limiting the number of permanent forces in the region, Heike Hansel, a member of the German Left Party, told Sputnik Germany.

    In an interview with Sputnik Germany, Heike Hansel, a member of the German Left Party, reproached the recent US deployment of troops and tanks to Eastern Europe. He described it as nothing but a trick to evade the Russia-NATO deal, which specifies that thousands of troops shouldn't be stationed permanently in the region.

    Late last week, media reports said that the US Army had unloaded 87 tanks and other military equipment including jeeps and howitzers from three transport ships at the German port of Bremerhaven.

    The equipment is being transported to Poland by rail; it will be deployed there as well as throughout the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania.

    U.S. Army vehicles cross the Polish border in Olszyna, Poland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 heading for their new base in Zagan
    © AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski
    U.S. Army vehicles cross the Polish border in Olszyna, Poland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 heading for their new base in Zagan

    The extra military presence is part of the Atlantic Resolve operation launched by the US military in April 2014, in the aftermath of the US-backed Maidan coup in Ukraine.

    The US has used claims of Russia's alleged military interference in Ukraine as a pretext for its military build-up in Eastern Europe, which Russia regards as a security threat.

    Commenting on the matter, Heike Hansel specifically pointed to the fact that the Bundestag had actually turned a blind eye to the deployment of US troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe via German territory.

    "This deployment was approved at NATO summits and I don't recall any active debates in the German parliament regarding it. Our party's defense experts certainly asked critical questions and openly slammed [Germany's] federal government for becoming a springboard for the further aggravation of the policy in relation to Russia, something that we unequivocally reject," he said.

    Hansel also drew attention to the fact that Germany's armed forces, the Bundeswehr, contributes significantly to the deployment by providing comprehensive logistics. This is co-financed by the federal government and German taxpayers.

    Asked about why Germany is involved in what is seen by many as a purely American move, rather than NATO's, Hansel recalled that the deployment comes within the framework of NATO Operation Atlantic Resolve and is supported by Germany as part of a military alliance.

    "In general terms, it should be noted that this deployment is little more than a trick to evade the agreement between Russia and NATO which specifically warns against the alliance permanently stationing troops in Eastern Europe. I'll proceed from the assumption that future troop deployments will be carried out in line with the same scheme," Hansel said.

    In the past ten years, NATO's presence along Russia's western borders has grown eightfold, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last month.

    Shoigu also referred to NATO military exercises carried out close to the Russian border, including the Anaconda war game which took place last June, the largest military exercise in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.

    In July NATO held a summit in Warsaw, where defense ministers finalized arrangements to deploy multinational NATO battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, totaling around 4,000 troops.

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    taxpayers, deployment, trick, policy, troops, agreement, logistics, Germany, Poland, Russia
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