In Germany, 4,000 US troops and 2,400 new pieces of equipment, including tanks and artillery arrived to help shore up alley defenses in Europe. The equipment is being moved to Poland and will be dispersed to seven locations in Eastern Europe.
Russia criticized the troop buildup, and categorized it as a “threat to Russia.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told journalist, “We see it as a threat to us. This is an action that threatens our interests, our security, moreover, this is a third nation (apart from Russia and Poland) that is increasing its military presence near our borders in Europe, and it’s not even a European nation.”
A Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said the US viewed it as a demonstration to our commitment to the defense of our allies in Europe.
Speaking at a town hall meeting House Majority Leader Paul Ryan called Russia a menace with a menacing leader. He said the US needs to step up and more strongly engage Russia.
“I really think,” Ryan said, “the things he’s doing is to try to delegitimize other democracies so his illegitimate democracy does look so illegitimate by comparison.” Further, Ryan admitted that Russia did try to meddle in US elections. “If you’re going to meddle in elections, you’re trying to effect it,” he said.
Having said that, Ryan followed by saying Russian meddling didn’t influence the election and Donald Trump won easily. He also said President Obama’s sanctions “came a little late,” and that his Administration’s policy with Russia has been one of appeasement.
Nevertheless, the new troops and equipment arriving in Poland are part of the Obama Administrations aim to ratchet up the pressure on Russia, along with the sanctions announced some weeks ago. The deployment is the largest US reinforcement to Europe in decades.
The US will also carry out military exercises in the Baltics, all part of President Obama’s response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and to reassure our NATO allies.
The US troop buildup comes days before Trump’s inauguration. So far, Trump has suggested he will seek closer ties with the Russians. In recent months Russia has struck a threatening tone near Poland by sending nuclear-capable missile launchers into the area.