US-led Drills Involving Bulgaria Begin in RomaniaDefense | March 25, 2015, Wednesday // 08:10| views
racked vehicles of the US forces stand on wagons at the ABC Terminal of the international port in Bremerhaven, Germany, March 16, 2015. US forces transfer military equipment for exercises in Europe at the port of Bremerhaven. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Two Operation Atlantic Resolve military exercises started in Eastern Europe on Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman has said.
The 173rd airborne Brigade jumped into Smardan Training Area, Romania, for a combined, multinational training exercise with Romanian allies the US Department of Defense quotes Col Steve Warren as saying.
At the same time "USAREUR's 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment is carrying out a simulated ground assault from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base to link up with the paratroopers, with part of the 600 troops taking part to conduct maneuvers in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Germany as well. In each country there will be "community engagements" with forces from nations involved," the Pentagon has noted.
The exercises, which cover over 1770 kilometers, are aimed at boosting leadership capabilities and demonstrating freedom of movement across NATO member states.
Most Russian-language media outlets have reported the drills as merely taking place "in Bulgaria and Romania".
But the Stars and Stripes magazine, specialized in news on the US military, notes Operation Atlantic Resolve is also to include Georgia, "an aspiring NATO member", in May.
The drills are part of US plans of increased presence in Eastern Europe, including the Baltics and the Black Sea region.
Earlier in March, some 750 US Army tanks and thousands of troops were deployed to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for Atlantic Resolve activities, in a move described as a means "to deter Russian aggression."