Why is US building up arms in Eastern Europe? (by Ambassador Yakovenko)

US media have recently reported the White House’s plans to position arms stockpiles in NATO’s eastern European countries for the purpose of rotational training. According to them, possible destinations for the deployment of up to 1,200 units of military equipment include Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and possibly Hungary. This “prepositioned” weaponry would be enough to equip a brigade of 3,000 to 5,000 military personnel. These plans are expected to be coordinated in time for approval at the upcoming NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels in late June.

The United States is obviously negotiating with its allies to erode the fundamental provision of the Russia-NATO Founding Act of 1997, under which the alliance pledged to avoid “additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” in the above countries. The prepositioning of weapons is equivalent to permanent stationing, and the rotation of military personnel is but a detail. Russia has taken note of the arguments used by Washington that these measures are necessary to reassure its European allies in the face of the alleged Russian threat.

In fact, Washington and its European allies know that the perceived Russian threat is nothing more than a myth, which is used to relieve the United States of responsibility for the anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine and activities of certain forces in Kiev that refuse to end the fratricidal war in Donbass. This comes at a time when there is a serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in this region: the water supply is shut off; the delivery of provision, medicaments and essential goods is blocked by the Ukrainian authorities. And all is taking place against the backdrop of the shelling of residential buildings, schools, nurseries and other civilian facilities.

The United States is fuelling tensions and nurturing its European allies’ anti-Russian phobia, also because it plans to use current tensions to expand its military presence and hence strengthen its influence in Europe. There is growing risk that the US military strategy on NATO’s “eastern flank” will take on a life of its own, disregarding realities and Europe’s political interests, in the process of acquiring inertia that would be difficult to reverse. However, we hope that common sense will prevail, and that the situation in Europe will be seized from sliding into a new military confrontation with devastating consequences.