US Marines stationed in Bulgaria are expected to receive tanks and heavy artillery as part of efforts to move military equipment across the continent to Eastern Europe to deter alleged threats from Russia, according to a report.
The heavy equipment arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany, on August 16, and is bound for Bulgaria, The Military Times reported Monday, citing a statement from the US Marine Corps.
The tanks, artillery, and light armored reconnaissance vehicles will be moved across Europe to demonstrate NATO’s ability to support operations during a crisis, the statement said.
The exercise is aimed at quelling fears over Russia’s actions in Eastern Europe.
More than 160 Marines are accompanying four M1A1 Abram tanks, three 155 mm Howitzers, and six light-armored vehicles, which made their long journey from a military base in North Carolina in the US to Bremerhaven during the weekend.
The convoy is expected to arrive at the Novo Selo training center in northwestern Bulgaria, where the Marines will begin three six-month rotations alongside “NATO members, allies and partners.”
“The transportation of a Marine Corps combined arms capability in the Black Sea region has fostered improved communication and coordination with the allied force and its partners,” said Lt. Col. John Sattely, the director of logistics for US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.
The operation follows a massive US Army convoy that drove 500 US military personnel and 120 vehicles on a 1,800-kilometer journey through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic and back to their base in Germany earlier this year.
The US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment arrives during the Dragoon Ride exercise in Liepupe, Latvia, on 22 March 2015.
The exercise, part of an operation called the Dragoon Ride, was meant to demonstrate American commitment to European security in the face of alleged Russian “aggression” in Ukraine. I was reportedly the longest such maneuver Europe had seen since 1944.
However, Pentagon officials say a series of secret war games over the summer has raised concerns that US forces are not prepared for a sustained military campaign against Russia, The Daily Beast reported last week.
Relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War in 1991, largely due to the crisis in Ukraine.
Washington and its allies accuse Moscow of provoking unrest in eastern Ukraine by sending troops and equipment in support of the pro-Russian forces there. Moscow has long denied involvement in Ukraine’s conflict.
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