Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the US troop buildup in Europe
Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance?
Maria Zakharova: Recently Western media and bloggers have been actively promoting the idea that the deployment of US troops in Europe is not particularly significant in military terms and is limited to the transfer of several hundred US rotational troops with a small amount of weapons and combat hardware as part of allied solidarity.
However, if we look at some of the US war preparations in Europe that are being planned or carried out, the figures tell a different story.
This January the Americans transferred to Poland via the German port of Bremerhaven an armoured brigade, consisting of about 4,000 troops and 2,500 combat hardware units, including 87 tanks, 122 IFVs and 18 self-propelled artillery guns.
Starting in January, 300 US Marines will be deployed on the Norwegian base in Vaernes. In February the Pentagon is planning to deploy substantial amounts of combat hardware in Norway’s forward storage sites.
In late March an American air brigade is expected to be deployed in Germany. It will include about 1,800 military personnel with combat and transport helicopters. Part of this equipment will be stationed at facilities in Latvia, Romania and Poland.
A battalion tactical group of 1,200 will be deployed in Poland in April following the decisions of the NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016. Washington will send the main contingent (about 900 personnel) to this group.
Americans are actively investing in the development of military infrastructure and rapid deployment potentials of large military units near Russian borders, including the modernisation of airfields capable of accommodating heavy American transport.
In December 2016 the forward depot of the US ground forces in the Netherlands was again put into service to accommodate a brigade set of heavy combat hardware. Similar facilities will be built in the near future in Europe: one in Belgium and two in Germany. Their equipment is designed to promptly transfer US troops from the sites of their permanent deployment “should the need arise.”
The Pentagon is cunningly calling all of its military deployments in Europe “rotational” or non-permanent. At the same time it is planning “uninterrupted rotations” to make sure on-duty units will not leave their places of temporary deployment before the arrival of their substitutes. This amounts to long-term deployment of US forces and weapons in Europe, which can hardly be qualified as “defensive.”
All these steps are taking place against the background of the unilateral, unreserved development of the US missile defence potential in Europe, which is increasingly destabilising European and global security, and the modernisation of US nuclear weapons on the territory of other NATO countries. The Americans are actively urging their non-nuclear allies to handle these weapons.
Large-scale deployments of US troops in Europe have a powerful potential for destroying the entire architecture of European security. They are creating a new military-political reality, substantially upsetting the alignment of forces in Europe and threatening to trigger long-term destructive consequences in the Euro-Atlantic region. In effect, Washington is initiating a new arms race and is trying to impose on us a confrontational model of relations reminiscent of the Cold War.