Introduction — August 19, 2015
Under the pretext of reassuring NATO’s nervous new allies in eastern Europe, the Western alliance’s forces are moving steadily eastwards, ever closer to Russia’s western border. Purportedly to warn off any ‘Russian aggression.
A US military convoy of 100-150 vehicles is expected to drive through Slovakia in September en route to war games outside Budapest, Hungary. While next year NATO could send M1 Abrams tanks and other heavy fighting vehicles to Hungary for more drills to test NATO’s response to ‘Russian aggression’.
Some of those vehicles might even remain in the country once the exercise is over. Although Hungary has yet to submit a formal request for a permanent NATO base, the Hungarian government spokesman’s office has issued a statement in which it seemed amenable to the idea of having NATO forces permanently stationed on its soil.
To put that into perspective, the Ukraine is on Hungary’s eastern border. Which for U.S. readers, would be like placing a Russian or Chinese military base in Guatemala or the Yucatan.
Get the feeling that someone is stealthily positioning its forces for a fight? Ed.
US Army to Pass Through Slovakia Before NATO Drills in Hungary
Sputnik — August 19,2015
A US military convoy of some 100 military vehicles and several hundred servicemen will drive across Slovakia in September to a NATO ground forces exercise in Hungary, the chief of the Defense Staff of Slovakia’s Armed Forces said Wednesday.
“A US military convoy will pass through the territory of Slovakia on September 12-19 from its base in Germany to the venue for the exercise in Hungary. According to preliminary data, the convoy will consist of 100-150 military vehicles and about 500 soldiers,” Lt. Gen. Milan Maxim was quoted as saying by the Bratislava-based SME newspaper.
In late July, Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky said that US forces taking part in Hungary’s 2015 Brave Warrior drills would cross Czech Republic territory.
According to Stropnicky, the convoy is likely to spend the night in Vyskov, south Moravia.
In the fall 2015, the US forces will also take part in a joint crossing exercise on the Danube River.
NATO has increased the number and scope of its military exercises in Europe since spring 2014, claiming they are motivated by Russia’s alleged aggression against Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly refuted the allegations, expressing concern about increased NATO military activities close to Russia’s borders.
U.S. could send tanks to Hungary for military exercises: report
Reuters — July 22, 2015
The United States could send Bradley fighting vehicles and M1 tanks to Hungary next year for military exercises as part of NATO’s response to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Napi Gazdasag newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Press officials for the Hungarian Defence Ministry and the U.S. embassy in Budapest could not comment immediately on the report in the pro-government daily, which described the deployment of the equipment as a temporary relocation.
It did not specify how it obtained the information.
The Hungarian government spokesman’s office said Hungary had not received an official request from the U.S. to deploy heavy weaponry in Hungary. However is said it would make sense for some military equipment to remain in Hungary between exercises.
“There is serious training cooperation between the Hungarian and U.S. armies, therefore, it would be a logical step if heavy weaponry needed for the exercises, such as armored carriers, should not be transported back at the end of an exercise, but would be stored temporarily in Hungary,” the office said in an emailed reply.
Napi Gazdasag said the option to station tanks in Hungary, Ukraine’s western European Union neighbor and a former central European communist satellite, emerged during a February visit by Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe.
The paper said U.S. forces would also take part in the Brave Warrior exercise in Hungary with Stryker fighting vehicles as well as in a joint crossing exercise on the Danube river planned in the autumn.
With East-West tensions running at their highest since the Cold War era, NATO has made clear it will not intervene in Ukraine but will bolster the defenses of nervous eastern allies who were under Moscow’s domination for four decades until 1989.
U.S. officials said last month that Washington planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern European nations to reassure allies unnerved by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and to deter further aggression.
In February, NATO defense ministers agreed to set up a network of command centers in eastern Europe and more than double the size of a rapid reaction force to better protect the region in the event of any threat from Russia.
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Dominic Evans)