The Pentagon may put heavy weaponry along Russian borders as a deterrent to the country's possible aggression, officials told The New York Times on Saturday. It would be enough tanks and infantry vehicles to equip about 5,000 soldiers. Possible sites include Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. As the Times explains:
The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in the newer NATO member nations in Eastern Europe that had once been part of the Soviet sphere of influence. Russia's annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine have caused alarm and prompted new military planning in NATO capitals. [The New York Times]
The proposal would need approval from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the White House. Julie Kliegman
Russian military aircraft reportedly tangoed with fighter jets of at least two European countries this week.
The British Royal Air Force scrambled jets today after Russian "Bear" bombers were spotted getting too close to British airspace. The U.K.'s Sky News reports the RAF sent up two fighters to identify and deter the planes, which never actually entered British airspace.
Sweden had a similar run-in with Russian military planes on Wednesday. In this case, two Russian "Su-24 attack planes" actually entered Swedish airspace over the island of Öland, Sweden's English-language news site The Local reports. Sweden then scrambled its own fighter jets to intercept the intruders, who peeled off. Reports The Local:
Expressen's source however said the Armed Forces believed Russia had sent the fighter jets to test how ready Sweden was to respond.
Estonia's president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, noted that the violation occurred while Sweden's outgoing foreign minister, Carl Bildt, was discussing regional security with the country's military. [The Local]
As Kyle Mizokami reported earlier this week, such provocations have become a defining feature of Russian diplomacy under President Vladimir Putin. Earlier this month, Russian "Bears" buzzed U.S. airspace, apparently to remind NATO of its nuclear capabilities as the group sat down in Wales to discuss Russia's aggression in Ukraine. Russia played similar games with Finland and Canada, too. Nico Lauricella