U.S. Army Exercises in Baltic States Close to Russian Border
Sept. 1, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Washington Times reported yesterday that elements of a U.S. Army artillery brigade stationed in Germany will conduct a live-fire training exercise, called “Rail Gunner Rush,” at a range in Estonia only 70 miles from the Russian border. “While the Pentagon said the drills aren’t a direct response to any recent Russian aggression, it’s clear the U.S. military is taking calculated measures to send a message to an increasingly brazen Kremlin,” the Times reported in particularly Russophobic language. “Rail Gunner Rush will demonstrate the strong bilateral partnership between the U.S. and Estonia, and test the brigade’s deployment capabilities, readiness and interoperability with NATO allies,” U.S. Army Europe said in a statement. “This routine training exercise is not tied to any current events in the region.”
In response, the Russian Embassy in Washington issued a statement calling the exercise provocative and dangerous. “We drew attention to messages, including in the Washington Times with anti-Russian assertions, and media support to the exercises of the U.S. and Estonian Armed Forces taking place from 1 September to 10 September using multiple launch rocket systems in the immediate vicinity of the Russian borders—70 mi (110 km),” it said on Facebook, reported Sputnik. “The Russian Federation has repeatedly offered to the United States and its allies to limit training activities and to divert exercise areas from the line of contact between Russia and NATO. We consider the actions of the U.S. Armed Forces in Estonia provocative and extremely dangerous for regional stability,” the embassy asserted.
The embassy statement ended by asking a series of questions of the U.S.
“Why this demonstrative saber-rattling? What signal do NATO members want to send us? Who is actually fueling tensions in Europe? And all this is taking place in the context of an aggravated political situation in that region of the European continent. Rhetorical question: How would the Americans react if such shooting were carried out by our military near the U.S. borders?”
U.S. European Command also announced yesterday that an armored regiment, currently in Lithuania as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence, will be participating in an exercise at the Pabradė training ground in Lithuania, which is only about 10 km from the Russian border. The U.S. Embassy in Lithuania reported in 2019 that the U.S. had spent $4.1 million to upgrade the training facility “to increase Lithuanian capabilities.”