A convoy of US military vehicles, mostly IAV Stryker APCs, is touring through Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic to Germany in a symbolic show of force and solidarity with Eastern European allies “that live closest to the Bear.”
Operation ‘Dragoon Ride’ kicked off Saturday in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia and will see the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment covering some 1,100 miles to Vilseck, Germany by April 1. Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, will also participate in the military “exercise.”
“The whole purpose … is to assure those allies that live closest to the Bear that we are here,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of US Army Europe said earlier of the maneuvering.
US Stryker vehicles are typically transported by rail, but the decision to convoy them to Germany in the broad light of day for everyone to see is meant to demonstrate the presence of American and NATO force in the region.
“You heard our president say very clearly, we will defend our allies, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland,” Hodges said. The move has been coordinated with the six European governments who are offering to escort over 120 pieces of US machinery traveling through their territories.
The US brandishing has been widely criticized, with some activists going so far as to accuse Washington of spreading Nazism and splitting European societies into separate camps. The government of the Czech Republic, according to local media, even instructed its own military to protect the US military convoy as it crosses the country over fears that numerous people protesting the move could stage “provocations.”
Read more: http://rt.com/news/242953-us-military-parade-europe/