BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States plans by the end of next year to station around 150 tanks and armoured vehicles in Europe for use by US forces training there, according to a US military com-mander.
Some of the tanks and vehicles – enough to equip an armoured brigade – could be placed in Poland, Romania or the Baltic states, Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, commander of the US Army in Europe, said in a tele-phone interview with Reuters from Wiesbaden, Germany.
Hodges said a proposal to have a US brigade rotate to Europe was first made two years ago, before the crisis over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
That meant a US armoured unit was already in the pipeline to come to Europe earlier this year, when it was needed as part of US measures to reassure eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis, he said.
Hodges said he saw a risk that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine might launch a new offen-sive in the spring. Russia denies any aggressive activity.
Hodges said he expected the US measures, which include an expanded exercise programme, to go on throughout 2015 and into 2016.