Amid tensions in Belarus, the United States has deployed an armoured battalion to Lithuania as part of the pre-planned operation Atlantic Resolve.
The 2nd Battalion of the 69th Regiment of the US Army 2nd Brigade will train with Lithuanian and other NATO troops in the Pabradė, close to Vilnius, according to the Lithuanian Defence Ministry. The American rotation will bring Abrams tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
The US troops are part of the US Army operation Atlantic Resolve, which is aimed at deterring Russia’s aggression in the region. American troops have been training in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014.
Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko previously said NATO troops in Poland and Lithuania pose a threat, and put most of the country’s military on combat readiness. NATO and Lithuanian officials dismissed the statement as an attempt to divert attention from repressions on protesters in Belarus.
Moscow will give a “well considered” response to the NATO exercises in Lithuania, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.
Ryabkov said the US and its allies were engaging in “hostile” actions against Russia and Belarus, according to the Interfax news agency quoted by the Baltic News Service.
“Our reaction will be correct and well considered,” he said. “It will be calibrated to make sure that there is no possibility to artificially increase the tensions.”