VIENNA, June 6. /TASS/. The Austrian government ignores its international legal obligations by endorsing the transit of NATO tanks via Austria's territory to the area of Saber Guardian 2017 exercise held under the US aegis in the proximity of the Russian border, an independent committee for Austria's withdrawal from the EU said on Tuesday.
Committee members concerned by the inordinate concentration of US and UK heavy armements in Eastern Europe.
It leveled criticism at the position of the government, "which believes transportation of military technologies of the US-led bellicose bloc does not run counter to this country's permanent neutrality and does not violate Austria's international legal regulations."
"The Austrian leadership's interestedness in authorizing the passage of US and UK troops stands at variance with the notion of permanent neutrality, which Austria declared in 1955," the committee said.
An action group has written appeals to the Federal Chancellor, Defense Ministry, Foreign Minister, and Interior Minister.
"The political and military provocations against Russia on the part of the top sections of Austria's political elite means the continuation of the deplorable political and financial steps the Austrian government is undertaking against Russia as a legal successor to the USSR and against the Austrian interests.
"We're disdained by the government's pouring fuel into the flames at the time of tensions and gives assistance to the transit of provocateur troops to the Russian border," Dr. Heinrich Wolmeier said. "This may raise the risk of the Russians stopping to consider us as neutral mediatords."
Committee President Inge Rauscher expressed the confidence that the anti-Constitutional decision could have been avoided if Austria were not a member of the EU.
The Austrian Defense Ministry said NATO's equipment was redeployed eastwards from Germany to Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. The first batches of NATO tanks crossed the Austrian border on June 1 on trains.
The second batch will begin the trek on June 10. It will cosist of more than 550 tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, and trucks with more than 1,100 soldiers aboard. The plan suggests a daily redeployment of eight columns, each consisting of twenty trucks.
Permission for their transit via the Austrian territory was issued by the Austrian Defense Ministry and Austrian Foreign Ministry.
Saber Guardian 2017 will sweep Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria this summer. It is destined to take place on the list of NATO's largest wargames this year.
The 25,000 soldiers who are expected to take part in them wil return to the places of permanent stationing in August.