Pentagon is sending 3,000 soldiers near Russia’s doorstep for training exercises with the militaries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
The deployment by the U.S. comes amid rising tensions with Russia on the crisis in Ukraine, in which most of the West accuses Moscow of instigating the military conflict between pro-Russia separatists and the Ukrainian military.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all NATO countries that gained membership in the alliance in 2004. About 750 U.S. tanks, helicopters and other equipment are scheduled to arrive in the Latvian capital of Riga next Monday.
“The military exercises are expected to last three months, but the equipment will stay “for as long as required to deter Russian aggression.” , Army Gen. John O’Conner said.
The exercises were planned as the three countries become increasingly concerned over Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine, according to the AP.
“The presence of our allies in Latvia is a confirmation of solidarity and security in the region,” said Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis, according to the news agency TASS.