Knockin’ on Heaven’s door: Thousands of US troops, with “major hardware,” head to Eastern Europe

By Jon Harper

Thousands of troops and major hardware from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division are heading to the Baltic region to reassure NATO allies fearful of Russian aggression, according to the Pentagon.

Approximately 3,000 soldiers from the division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team are bringing approximately 750 vehicles and pieces of heavy equipment with them, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery pieces and helicopters. The gear arrived Monday via ship in Riga, Latvia, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters.

The troops and equipment will participate in multinational training exercises with Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which will kick off in May. The exercises are part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S.-Army led mission which began last year after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region and sent troops and equipment to the eastern part of the country to support pro-Moscow separatists. NATO allies in Eastern Europe, which were under Russian domination during the Cold War, are worried the Kremlin will try to destabilize other neighboring countries.

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