NATO commander: US weighs placing army equipment in east

AP News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2015 4:23 PM

USTKA, Poland (AP) — The U.S. and other NATO members are considering placing heavy military equipment in the alliance's eastern flank nations, NATO's commander for Europe said Tuesday.

Gen. Philip Breedlove spoke during the large BALTOPS 2015 Baltic Sea exercises, currently held in Poland. They are part of the alliance's maneuvers in Eastern Europe this month that are intended to reassure the eastern flank nations, concerned about Russia's resurgence, that the alliance is ready and capable of defending their security.

Breedlove said that the possibility of "prepositioning" heavy army equipment was discussed at the NATO summit last year and that now "many nations consider this."

He said the U.S. is "clearly" considering it, although the decisions and announcements haven't been made yet.

"But it is a possibility that we will have this prepositioned equipment," he said.

The move would speed up NATO reaction, as it is faster and easier to ferry troops alone, than troops with tanks, vehicles and howitzers.

Poland's Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said Sunday that he discussed such plans in Washington last month and was expecting a decision "soon."

Breedlove also said that during the exercises that started earlier this month, NATO vessels have had seven "interactions" with Russian forces, which have a Baltic port in Kaliningrad.

"Most of these interactions were completely normal and ...their presence brings good training to our exercises," Breedlove said.