The United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed that the Pentagon will deploy tanks and heavy artilaries near the Russian borders in Eastern Europe and the Baltics in the wake of painful Ukraine crisis that has been annoying the NATO member states neighbouring with Russia.
Carter made the US official announcement on Tuesday when he visited Tallinn, the capital of Estonia which has been one of the most outspoken countries against Russia since it became independent from the former Soviet Union in 1991.
Carter met with defence chiefs of the Baltic countries in Tallinn and visited a NATO base where he spoke to troops aboard an American warship that had just completed naval drills in the Baltic Sea.
Carter told reporters with the defence chiefs that several countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, including Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Poland had agreed to deploy US-led NATO arms in their soils.
Two American battle tanks were already deployed to Bulgaria last weekend by plane from Ramstein Air Base in Germany to take part in a maneuver intended to reassure NATO allies and show the US military’s ability to rapidly deploy equipment across Europe.
The Pentagon was reportedly said last week to store heavy military equipment in a significant move to deter “Russian aggression” towards Eastern Europe where the regional governments have long been worrying over whether the Kremlin will target themselves next in the wake of Ukraine conflicts.
Carter has reassured the Baltics about the alleged increasing Russian military presence and said the NATO was "committed to defending the territorial integrity of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.".
The Estonian Defence Minister Sven Mikser warmly welcomed the US decision to position heavy artilaries together with other military equipments since Estonia hosts an overwhelming amount of Russian-speaking minority, nearly one-third of the country’s total population.
"We have reasons to believe that Russia views the Baltic region as one of NATO's most vulnerable areas, a place where NATO's resolve and commitment could be tested," Mikser said.
NATO’s recent decision to militarise Eastern Europe was perceived as “disturbing” actions by Moscow as the Kremlin office claimed last week that Washington and its European allies have been attempting to change balance of power against Moscow in the region.
Moscow vehemently reacted to Washington’s drive to deploy NATO member states on the edge of its border and said on Monday that the proposed US move would be the most dangerous act since the Cold War to which it could immediately retaliate by beefing up its own forces.
The Kremlin stated that Moscow has been seeking the ways for protecting its security and interests in the coterminous Eastern Europe where constituent states of the former Soviet Union now became members in the Euro-Atlantic alliance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that Russia was very concerned with the US-led NATO acts of getting prepared to deploy anti-missile defence systems near its borders and said they would add more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to their nuclear arsenal this year.
However, the NATO also blamed Russia for fueling destabilisation in Eastern Europe through nuclear warfare as the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg defined Moscow’s attitudes towards the region as being “sabre-rattling.”