RIGA, June 15. /TASS/. A possible deployment of additional US weaponry in Eastern European countries and Baltic states is potentially dangerous for the population of these countries, an expert from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies told Latvian Radio Baltkom on Monday.
"Concentration of heavy weaponry close to the Russian border is very dangerous," Sergey Yermakov said, noting that these are "offensive weapons, not defensive".
This would mean drawing into a major arms race, with Baltic states and civilians being at gunpoint, he warned.
"So far Pentagon has not clearly confirmed information in a newspaper report. But if this decision is made, heavy tanks Abrams as well as armored vehicles and heavy machine guns will appear in Baltic states and in Poland," the expert continued.
Last week the New York Times reported that the Pentagon could station tanks, infantry combat vehicles, and other heavy weaponry sufficient to equip 5,000 US military if necessary in several Baltic and Eastern European states.
The Pentagon’s plans on sending US heavy weapons to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states envisage no deployment of additional military equipment beyond that announced earlier, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander US Army Europe, said.
"The equipment described in the article all refers to the same Armored Brigade Combat Team," Hodges said, in comments to the report by The New York Times on Saturday.
The report said the Pentagon was considering plans to store US heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 troops on allied bases, namely in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.