US tanks arrive in Germany to help Nato defences

Timothy McGuire, Major General and Deputy Commanding General United States Army Europe, stands in front of US Army tanks and the cargo vessel "Resolve" in Bremerhaven, northern Germany Image copyright EPA
Image caption The tanks began arriving in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, on Friday. Pictured: Major General Timothy McGuire

The largest shipment of US brigades since the fall of the Soviet Union is arriving in northern Germany.

The first of the 87 tanks and 144 military vehicles were being unloaded in the port of Bremerhaven on Friday.

The equipment and 3,500 US troops are to be deployed along Nato's eastern frontier. The deployment aims to allay worries of potential Russian aggression in eastern Europe.

However, some fear the large number will exacerbate tensions with Moscow.

Leaders of the left-wing regional government of Brandenburg - one of the German states through which the American brigades will be transported over the next two weeks - have called for further talks with Russia.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The vehicles will be joined by 3,500 troops
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Not everyone believes bolstering Nato's defences is a good idea
Image copyright AP
Image caption The decision to send more tanks was made amid rising worries over Russia

The arrival of the equipment and troops marks the start of a new phase of the US's Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armoured brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis.

The new forces will gather first in Poland, then fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria, while a headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Eastern European states are on alert since the annexation of Crimea
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The equipment reached European soil via ship
Image copyright AFP
Image caption These vehicles will now go to Poland

Other Nato members are also increasing their presence in eastern Europe, with Britain sending fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armour will deploy to Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. Germany also plans to send troops and tanks to Lithuania.

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