American military presence in Europe: current and future risks

Washington is trying to assemble a grouping in Eastern Europe "for a convenient opportunity"

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HEADS-UP: Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media

MOSCOW, April 12, 2022, RUSSTRAT Institute.
Since the beginning of “Operation Z”, Washington has taken a number of actions to strengthen the American group stationed on the territory of the European Union. Until February 24, 2022, this activity was conducted with foreign policy reservations, and the outbreak of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine became an ideal occasion for accelerating and expanding the militarisation of the EU, primarily in Eastern Europe.

The openly voiced plans of the administration of US President Joe Biden to form a “second Afghanistan” out of Ukraine – no matter how ambiguous this analogy may be, after the US hastily flees from this country in 2021 – combined with the remark of the head of the European Diplomacy Josep Borrell about maximum military assistance to Ukraine so that it “does not lose”, against the background of the transfer of American The supply of troops and weapons to Europe leads to some disturbing conclusions.

Namely, the United States intends to keep a grouping in Europe sufficient for a first strike on Russian troops in Ukraine, and under certain conditions – on the territory of Russia itself. The network of military bases deployed by Washington along the perimeter of Kaliningrad, Belarus and Ukraine will be used during the almost inevitable sabotage war, which will be one of the stages of the final denazification of Ukraine. Moreover, the EU will pay for the American presence.

100,000 – and separately Poland

On April 5, 2022, the official Pentagon publication “Stars and Stripes”  published an overview  of the speech of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on the defense budget for fiscal year 2023.

Mark Milley supported the construction of new permanent US bases in Eastern Europe “to contain Russia”. Stating that he is in favor of rotating more units in Europe and beyond to continuously increase the size of the US armed forces on the European continent.

His comments to the House Armed Services Committee came after Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, the commander of all US and NATO forces in Europe, told senators last week that he believes the United States may need to deploy more troops on the continent.

During the meeting, it was announced that the number of US troops in Europe has more than doubled since the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine. According to the Pentagon, there are currently about 102,000 US military personnel in Europe. New forces, including two armored brigade combat teams, an airborne infantry brigade, and aircraft have arrived “for temporary deployment.”

Mark Milley measured the duration of the presence of American forces in Europe in “years”, since, in his opinion, the conflict in Ukraine will take a protracted character.

Of course, Europeans will pay for the US’ presence in Europe. According to Milley, NATO allies are “very, very willing to build and pay for” permanent US bases along the bloc’s eastern flank. He told lawmakers that countries “including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Romania” have expressed such interest.

These states are absolute satellites of Washington, so their willingness to pay for the prospect of becoming the target of a Russian nuclear strike is beyond doubt. Even when local economists sound the alarm, reporting that against the background of exorbitant prices for energy and food, the maintenance of American soldiers  is unacceptably expensive .

It is worth noting the special position of Hungary, whose leadership has repeatedly stressed its unwillingness to participate in the US games on the territory of the EU. Given the successful and convincing re-election of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for another term, Budapest is likely to maintain its relative economic neutrality towards Russia for the coming years.

The complete antipode of Hungary is Poland. Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called for an increase in the number of US troops in Europe to 150,000, with 50,000 of them stationed exclusively in the Baltic states and Poland.

Representatives of the Baltic states agree with this assessment. According to Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, NATO forces in the region “have been doubled, and if you take Poland – by ten-fold”. The peak of reinforcement will be reached in May, when a new US Army battalion will arrive in Lithuania , and its predecessor, which is preparing for rotation, will postpone the move .

Based on the results of the emergency NATO summit held at the end of March, an additional four multinational combat groups will be created in Europe (in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia). The document claimed that “in response to Russia’s actions”, the alliance’s defense plans were activated, elements of the NATO Response Force were deployed, and 40,000 troops were deployed on its eastern flank.

Looking at the map, it is easy to see that the strengthening of NATO troops – read, the United States – is being conducted along the perimeter of Ukraine. It is not entirely clear what Bulgaria should logically defend – perhaps Brussels does not have hopes for Romania’s combat resilience. It can be assumed that the combat group in Bulgaria will be mainly air and sea, directed against the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. Currently, at least four military bases in Bulgaria are used jointly with the United States.

The largest concentration of American troops in Europe remains Germany, where at least 40,000 American personnel are present on a permanent basis.

However, the strengthening of the American presence in Europe should be taken in a comprehensive manner, without reducing the assessment to purely numerical indicators of personnel.

In early February, the United States deployed a group of B-52H strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the Fairford base in Britain. The command noted that the bombers arrived to “fulfil the long-planned mission of the operational bomber group” as part of a regular series of joint missions of the European command of the US Armed Forces (AF) and the strategic command of the US Armed forces.

On April 6, the US Air Force Europe Command reported on the flight of these bombers over Europe, the Mediterranean and the North Seas. According to the US military, the bombers worked on interaction with British, Danish, Czech, Hungarian, Greek and Italian fighters and with ground-based aircraft manufacturers from Bulgaria and Hungary.

Countries east of Germany are used as drone bases (Poland, Romania) and territory for defense infrastructure (the same missile ones too). Since the beginning of “Operation Z”, Poland has been further reinforced with two “Patriot” missile defense systems transferred from Germany, as it became known on March 9, 2022.

Poland is an outpost of American militarization of Eastern Europe. On August 15, 2020, Polish National Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo signed an agreement to strengthen the presence of US troops in the country.

Back in 2017, an armored brigade combat team arrived in Poland. The headquarters of the American V Corps, which is responsible for the command and control of designated units of American troops in Europe, was opened in Poznan. The command of the US First Division, headed by an American general, has also been operating there since October 2019.

The Combat Aviation Brigade, or CAB, also arrived in Poland in the first half of 2017 and is still there today. A logistics support unit is located near the village of Powidz. Aviation and drones are located in Lask and Mirosławiec, and since May 2016, a missile defense base has been being built in Redzikowo.

US troops, although primarily stationed in western Poland, are training and conducting exercises across Poland and operating across the region in other countries on NATO’s eastern flank, according  to official releases from the Polish government .

Non-peaceful Finland

One of the obvious reasons for the special operation on the territory of Ukraine was the actual transformation of this territory into a “NATO proxy”. This, combined with zoological Russophobia, biological laboratories, and proven weapons of mass destruction developments, has created an unacceptably high risk for Russia. territory along the Dnieper.

At the same time, the US military presence may manifest itself in the opposite direction. As the Iltalehti newspaper reported on April 7, Finland, which has been neutral for decades, is preparing to apply for NATO membership, and may do so as early as the end of April. The intention to join NATO, according to the publication, will be announced during a parliamentary debate by President Sauli Niinistö and the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy TP-Utva, headed by Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

The decision of the TP-Utva commission is preceded by a statement sent to Niinistö and Marin by a working group consisting of the chairmen of parliamentary factions that the parliamentary majority supports joining NATO.

Thereafter, the application must be approved by all member states. After all members of the alliance have given their consent, the NATO Secretary General invites the candidate country to join NATO. Thus, Finland’s possible entry into NATO will be carried out by invitation. At the end of March, Niinistö said that he had discussed with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg the principles and procedures for accepting new members to the alliance.

If Finland joins NATO, American missiles may appear 150 kilometers from St. Petersburg, 170 kilometres from Murmansk, and 400 kilometers from the Severodvinsk submarine base.

Moreover, time will work against Russia. It cannot be ruled out that NATO will consider the consideration of Finland’s application in an accelerated mode, reducing many bureaucratic delays.

From a political point of view, the need for a unanimous “yes” requires serious efforts to convince “NATO dissidents”, such as Hungary and France, whose position is becoming even more shaky given the presidential election. However, the potential risks of Finland joining NATO are too great to ignore.

Even without the prospect of deploying NATO aircraft to Finland, on April 4, CNN reported  about the successful testing of an American hypersonic missile, which was kept secret for two weeks. According to the publication, the first successful launch of a Lockheed Martin missile allowed exceeding the speed of mach 5 (>1,700 m/s), the missile flew 300 miles (about 482 km) at an altitude of 65,000 feet (about 20 km) . Even at the lowest hypersonic speed – 3,800 miles per hour, 611 kilometers per hour – the rocket will cover a distance of 300 miles in less than 5 minutes.

Accordingly, the flight time of such a product to St. Petersburg will be no more than two minutes, which will dramatically increase the threat from the northwest to Russia. Given this perspective, Finland’s entry announced into NATO deserves the priority attention of the General Staff, the Ministry of Defense and other structures whose functions include managing military risks.

We should also expect a significant intensification of negotiations on the treaty on the deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles – the likelihood of the emergence of American missile bases and missile defense systems in Finland, with the prospect of deploying hypersonic missiles there, probably encourages Russia to respond symmetrically somewhere near the United States.

Barrier troops for Ukraine

Among other things, General Mark Milley told congressmen that the United States and its allies have transferred 60,000 anti-tank and 25,000 anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine, and the search for armored vehicles and artillery that the Ukrainian Armed Forces could use without additional training continues . Secretary of State Anthony Blinken used a more imaginative analogy, saying that the Kiev regime will be supplied with “ten anti-tank systems for each individual Russian tank”, as well as “something that will help to quickly and effectively combat aviation.”

Thus, Blinken and Milley confirmed that in Ukraine, Russia is countering not so much Ukrainian armed formations as it is the joint military-industrial complex of NATO, the alliance’s intelligence centers and NATO training camps. The importance of the “Russian threat” factor for the US economy was discussed in detail  in a separate article by RUSSTRAT .

Obviously, the desire of the United States and its satellites is to turn the special operation in Ukraine into a protracted war literally “to the last Ukrainian”. Although there are obvious problems with finding Soviet-style armored vehicles that the Ukrainian military can quickly master, from a technical point of view, it is not impossible to supply Ukraine with an unlimited number of ATGMs and MANPADS. The only limit in this case will be the availability of people willing to use them.

As the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, proudly stated, commenting on the failed forecast of the Pentagon itself about the alleged plan of Russia to seize Ukraine in a month, the reality turned out to be different due to US efforts to supply weapons to Ukrainian formations.

Preventing such deliveries should inevitably be included in the list of priority tasks for Russia’s “long arm” – the aerospace forces and missile systems of various bases. In this regard, the attacks on railway junctions that have begun in recent days look absolutely justified: a significant amount of weapons can be transferred through Ukraine from west to east only by rail. Otherwise, the troops participating in “Operation Z” will have to further reduce the level of humanism – the over-saturation of urban development of ATGMs and MANPADS creates huge risks for the fighters against Nazism with a “sparing” approach to storming cities.

The saturation of the Ukrainian territory with a wide variety of Western weapons, combined with the need for Z units to act with an eye to protecting the lives of civilians, will in any case turn even the liberated territory into a zone of increased sabotage and terrorist danger. The level of this danger will decrease based on the success of counterintelligence and law enforcement forces.

American bases along the perimeter of Ukraine have another function-training centers for sabotage groups, places for regrouping, replenishing equipment and combat coordination of those Ukrainian nationalists who can escape Z units in various ways without losing the desire to fight with their former compatriots. Such a situation will be very beneficial for the US Army, as it will allow conducting joint sabotage operations, studying the weak points of the security system of Russian facilities, combat tactics, and much more.

Ready to roll

If the United States takes advantage of Poland’s invitation to increase its deployment in Europe to 150,000 people, with a focus on Polish territory, then the number of American troops around Ukraine will be comparable to the number of Russian troops announced by Western media as of February 2022. In a sense, we can talk about a mirror image of the situation – only this time American groups are lined up along the western borders of Ukraine.

The focus on Poland creates risks for the Russian expeditionary force on the territory of Ukraine, and the Baltic direction, given the prospect of Finland joining NATO, puts the north-west of Russia, including St. Petersburg, in a threatening position.

In general, the modernization and construction of new US military bases in Eastern Europe will allow Washington to concentrate troops and strike systems in favorable areas with fewer losses and faster.

Despite Washington’s many assurances that NATO soldiers would not end up in Ukraine, history has been repeatedly shown that statements and even documents signed by the West are extremely dangerous to believe. Since the forces involved in “Operation Z” are obviously insufficient for a successful attack on NATO as a whole, the declared defensive function of the American group can only be secondary.

The presence of an American group of troops in Europe certainly has a simple, cynical and practical purpose. This was voiced by Mark Milley, once again emphasizing that the European Union will pay Washington for the “stay” of the US military on its territory. And in this sense, the continued conflict in Ukraine brings direct commercial benefits to the United States, which means that the US military will not leave Europe until European banks run out of money.

It cannot be ruled out that in the event of further degradation of Ukrainian statehood, the American group will be used as a guarantor of the independence of the “new Ukraine” with its center in Lvov. Embassies, as well as significant archives of the Ukrainian intelligence agencies, databases, and other tools necessary for the continued functioning of anti-Russian Ukraine were moved there even before the start of “Operation Z”.

Plans for a “NATO peacekeeping mission” within the Ukrainian territories once belonging to Poland  were announced by Polish President Andrzej Duda  on the eve of the alliance’s March summit. The Russian side reacted harshly to such escapades. However, this is unlikely to force Warsaw with Washington behind its back to abandon the voiced option.

There is an option to openly use the US army against the Russian one, although it can be unlikely considered. Russia’s nuclear shield remains the only guarantee against NATO’s entry into a military conflict with the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine and elsewhere. The desire to use the US army in Europe for offensive operations may arise in Washington in a situation where, for some reason, the threat of a Russian nuclear “retaliatory strike” may be considered insignificant.

Washington may come to such an opinion due to the creation of some qualitatively new missile defense systems, successful attempts to destabilize the situation in Russia by using “color revolutions” to the extent that it excludes the management and activation of nuclear weapons systems. We should not discount the possibility of carrying out some kind of provocation against American bases in Poland, which the current Kiev regime may well arrange.

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is all expected. It is naive to believe that the Ukrainian anti-Russian campaign will end quickly. This is for a long time. This is a war of human resources, military resources and economic. In this case, I easily admit the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the western part of Ukraine and the further transfer of nuclear strikes on the territory of Poland, the Baltic States. This is at least. NATO has a stranglehold on this conflict. We are being brought back to the situation where we will have no choice. And in order to protect our civilization and cool the ardor of the fascists of Europe, we will simply need to take this step.