As part of continued a NATO build-up and US efforts to counter an alleged Russian threat, US military hardware, including M1A2 Abrams battle tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles have arrived in the northern Estonian town of Tapa, shortly after similar deployments were made to other Eastern European nations including Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany.
In July 2016, NATO members agreed to the “biggest reinforcement since the Cold War,” posting four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
More than 50 units of US military equipment, including four battle tanks and 15 infantry fighting vehicles, were delivered to Tapa, the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement. Personnel of the Charlie Company of 68th Armored Regiment’s 1st Battalion from the US Army 4th Infantry Division arrived in the town two days earlier, on January 30. Company commander Captain Edward Bachar said the US troops would take part in the Estonian Independence Day parade. Earlier, Bachar also said that his company would begin its expert marksmanship training this week.
The Estonian deployment marks a new phase of the Operation Atlantic Resolve, which began in April 2014, following the flaring of tensions between Russia and the West. Atlantic Resolve is perceived by Washington as a demonstration of continued US commitment to the collective security of Europe in the view of alleged Russian “assertiveness.”
As reported previously, last month some 2,800 pieces of US military hardware, including US Abrams tanks, Paladin artillery, Bradley fighting vehicles and 4,000 troops arrived in Europe as part of the operation. These forces subsequently moved to Poland to participate in military drills in late January, and then were deployed across seven countries, including the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany. A headquarters unit is stationed in Germany.