Soldiers in Europe want bigger guns amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine

Soldiers, with 1st Platoon, Alpha Troop, Regimental Engineering Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, place flags to mark a lane cleared for maneuver forces at Joint Multinational Training Area in Hohenfels, Germany, April 13, 2015. Photo Credit: Army Sgt. 1st Class Amy Wieser Willson, 116th Public Affairs Detachment

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, has requested that 81 of its 8-wheel-drive Stryker infantry carrier vehicles be equipped with 30-mm automatic cannons.  The appeal comes as tensions rise with Russia over their involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

According to FOX News, the House Armed Services Committee is already setting aside the money for the upgrades.  The Army approved the request on Wednesday, which would double the caliber of the guns currently carried.  The upgraded cannons would give the Strykers better firepower against other light-armored vehicles.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that in spite of a cease-fire Russia has provided rebels with advanced training, equipment and continual supplies.  It has also been reported by NATO’s chief that there is a sizeable Russian military buildup on the border of Ukraine.

In return, Russian officials have stated that U.S. military instructors have been seen in Ukraine combat zones and outside the agreed upon area in the western part of the country, which is closer to the border of Poland.  The U.S. State Department is denying the allegation, stating that the U.S. paratroopers that arrived last week are where they are supposed to be, in western Ukraine training national guard units.

Marie Harf, a State Department spokesperson, said, “We’ve been doing this for 20 years now” and called the accusation “ridiculous.”

FOX News reported that Stoltenberg also said that Russia has violated the Minsk agreement entered into by Moscow through their action of providing more than 1,000 pieces of Russian military equipment to rebels.  According to his reports, over the past month items delivered include artillery, tanks and air defense units.

Russia’s accusations about the U.S. trainers in eastern Ukraine came one day after the U.S. State Department accused them violating the cease-fire deal by deploying air-defense systems into the same areas of dispute.

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