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U.S. troops head to the Baltics

Apr 23, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

The United States will deploy about 600 troops to Poland and Baltic countries, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, April 22, reports AFP.

A company of 150 soldiers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Italy will arrive in Poland on Wednesday and roughly 450 troops are due in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in coming days as part of a new series of exercises "scheduled to take place for the next few months and beyond," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.

Latvian Defense Ministry's press secretary Karlis Eihenbaums told LETA that about 150 U.S. troops would be deployed for the exercises in Latvia. The U.S. airborne troops will maintain a persistent rotational presence, and the United States will urge other NATO countries to also participate in various military exercises in the region.

Latvia is pleased at the U.S. decision to deploy troops to Latvia pursuant to the NATO's April 16 decision to deploy more air, sea and land forces in Eastern Europe in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

The prompt reaction by the United States is praiseworthy, and Latvia is grateful to its NATO partners for their decisions that will increase the country's security, especially in light of the developments in Ukraine, stressed Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis.

The deployment of troops as part of the new exercises is the first step confirming NATO support for Latvia and the Baltic region. "We expect that the presence of the allies' troops in the Baltic region will become more intensive and that more troops will be deployed to the region," said Vejonis.

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