US troops are combat-ready on the Russian border – Lithuanian commander – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

US forces are now ‘ready to fight immediately’, says NATO member’s top general

US forces stationed in Lithuania have shifted from Russian deterrence to combat readiness, Lithuanian Defense Chief Lt. Gen. Valdemaras Rupsys said. The country shares a border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, as well as with Belarus and Latvia.

« The main factor was deterrence, the demonstration that they were there and could augment our forces at any time », Rupsys said Friday on LRT radio.

“And now the situation has changed: these units are deployed so that they can fight immediately. It’s a…seamless transition from one mode to another.

“At least until 2025, we will have rotating American units that will conduct military training and serve as a deterrent, but will also be ready to conduct defensive actions with us and other allies,” he added.

The defense chief said on Wednesday he had been assured by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, that US troops would have « a persistent presence in Lithuania. »

US battalion-sized units with around 500 troops, Abrams tanks and Bradley armored vehicles have been stationed on a rotational basis in the town of Pabrade in eastern Lithuania since 2019. NATO maintains also a German-led multinational unit in the country.

The U.S.-led bloc announced it would boost its military capabilities in response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which began in February. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in June that the alliance’s rapid reaction force would grow from around 40,000 to more than 300,000.

Moscow has repeatedly said it views NATO troops near its borders as a threat to national security. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that the bloc’s actions meant its return to « conceptual priorities » adopted during the Cold War.

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