The Army’s 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment made a bold statement as they paraded through an Estonian city, just 300 yards from the Russian border, on Wednesday.
The Washington Post reported that the armored personnel carriers and other U.S. Army vehicles that rolled through the streets of Narva, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia, were a dramatic reminder of the new military confrontation in Eastern Europe.
Only a river separates the vulnerable border city of Narva from Russia. Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Second Calvary Regiment were taking part in a military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day. Narva has been listed as a potential target for the Kremlin if it wanted to escalate its conflict with the West onto NATO territory.
NATO expansion is a topic Russia has long complained about, saying that the Cold War defense alliance was a major security threat as it drew closer to Russia’s borders. After the Baltic states joined in 2004, and Russian President Vladimir Putin cited fears that Ukraine would join NATO when he annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March last year, anger grew extremely more passionate.
PressTV reports that the U.S. accuses Russia of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of the pro-Russia forces, something Moscow denies any involvement in. Russia has also been accused of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who threatens Russian President Vladimir Putin with responses.
Russia’s Baltic neighbors said what happened in Ukraine demonstrates why they wanted to join NATO in the first place.
For Latvia’s Independence Day parade in November, U.S. vehicles rolled through the streets of the city of Riga, another powerful reminder of U.S. boots on the ground in the region. Hundreds of United States military personnel have been sent to join the NATO exercise, “Atlantic Resolve” in the Baltics. In September, NATO nations committed to forming a rapid reaction force that could deploy quickly to eastern Europe if they are invaded.