US to Station 600 Paratroopers in Baltics, Poland

US to Station 600 Paratroopers in Baltics, Poland

18:18 23/04/2014

MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – The US will dispatch about 150 paratroopers to Latvia in order to strengthen security in the country, as well as similar numbers to Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, the Latvian ambassador to NATO said Wednesday in an interview with the LTV channel.

“One-hundred fifty US paratroopers will soon arrive in Latvia to provide additional defense for the country,” Maris Riekstins said.

According to the diplomat, additional US airborne troops will also turn up in Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.

Following Russia’s reunification with Crimea, the Baltic countries, once part of the Soviet Union, expressed concerns about NATO’s commitment to their defense.

“150 US paratroopers based in Italy will arrive Wednesday in Poland,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a news conference.

The company-sized contingents will number about 150 soldiers each, he added.

Kirby said the Pentagon’s decision is more than a mere gesture to reaffirm solidarity with its NATO allies. He called for Russia to remove its forces from the border with Ukraine and respect Ukrainian sovereignty.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that NATO is attempting to use the Ukrainian crisis as an imaginary threat to unite the alliance’s members and to push for Moscow’s isolation.

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