The United States is stepping up its military presence on Russia’s backdoor by deploying an additional armored brigade in Eastern Europe, the Pentagon says.
US General Philip Breedlove, the top US commander in Europe, said in a Wednesday statement that the brigade will begin continuous rotations from early 2017.
The new measure, which will bring the US Army’s presence three fully manned combat brigades, was stated as a response to “an aggressive Russia” amid a crisis in eastern Ukraine.
“This army implementation plan continues to demonstrate our strong and balanced approach to reassuring our NATO allies and partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere,” Breedlove said.
“Our allies and partners will see more capability,” he added. “They will see a more frequent presence of an armored brigade with more modernized equipment in their countries.”
The Pentagon’s proposed budget, unveiled by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last month, shows a four-fold rise for operations in Europe, standing at $3.4 billion.
According to Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Seal, “These efforts demonstrate strong alliances and partnerships backed by demonstrated capability, capacity and readiness to deter aggression.”
“We have been clear that we will defend our interests, our allies and the principles of international order in Europe,” she added.
The US and its allies accuse Moscow of supporting the Russian-speaking fighters in eastern Ukraine, and supplying their troops with military aid, reinforcements, and resources, allegations the Kremlin denies.