Latvia’s defense ministry has confirmed taking delivery of over 120 armored war machines from the US, including M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2A3 Bradley armored vehicles.
The tanks were delivered to Latvia via Riga Freeport after being offloaded from the US carrier ship Liberty Promise on Monday, RT reported, adding that US Army General John O’Conner who witnessed the delivery of the tanks to Latvia said, “Freedom must be fought for, freedom must be defended," citing the Twitter feed of the US Embassy in the capital, Riga .
The US general further added that the delivery of the arms supplies would "demonstrate resolve to President Putin and Russia that collectively we can come together," noting that the US weaponry would remain in Latvia "for as long as required to deter Russian aggression.”
According to the report, following Crimea's rejoining of Russia, Washington has been keen to expand its military presence in the Baltic States and Poland to help guard against "perceived" Russian aggression.
The US deployment of yet more tanks and armored vehicles to the Baltic country was also welcomed by Latvian Minister of Defense Raymond Vejonis who said in a Twitter statement that "the presence of our allies (US and NATO) in Latvia is a confirmation of solidarity and security in the region," according to the report, which added that there are currently over 150 American troops in Latvia.
The development comes hot on the heels of NATO's military drills carried out on March 6 with their Latvian counterparts. As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Canadian and American forces collaborated with their Latvian partners to conduct the war games in winter conditions.
It included training to spot enemy positions as well as calling in indirect fire support, according to the report, which added that the drills took place at the Adazi training grounds.
It noted that similar military maneuvers were also conducted in Poland. Live-fire training exercises were carried out at Drawsko Pomorskie in the north of the country, while troops from Poland's 12th Mechanized Division were also involved.
This is while the "temporary" deployment of US troops in Poland and the Baltic states has been extended through 2015 as confirmed by a US Embassy spokesman in Poland, the report said.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov is cited in the report as saying that Allied forces are ignoring diplomacy and NATO is using the Ukraine crisis to push closer to Russia's border.
"Instead of uniting forces to fight evil, the worst of which is terrorism, Western nations are drawing new divisive lines, trying to realize containment schemes against unwelcome states. Today, Russia has been chosen as the target,” Antonov said on March 5.
According to the report, a freight train carrying an entire column of US armored vehicles was caught on camera in Latvia in December, noting the Dalbe Railway Station, where the train was reportedly spotted, is less than 300 kilometers from the Russian border.
The train was carrying at least 38 vehicles and several semitrailers, including eight Bradley Fighting Vehicles, nine M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), four petrol tankers, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTTs), High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), an M88 Hercules Armory recovery vehicle, a couple of trucks, some tactical engineering and medical vehicles, at least four containers and a pair of railcars with ammunition, added the report which carried a video of the freight train.
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