Defense Secretary James Mattis today issued a statement loudly condemning Russia for its military deployments within Russian territory, saying such moves were necessarily destabilizing, even though the deployments are part of a planned, upcoming wargames.
Russia will be hosting wargames with ally Belarus in September, and it will involve troops being around western Russia, which despite being Russia, and therefore a place Russia can definitely station troops, is too close to NATO territory for the taste of US officials.
Though Mattis denied any planned retaliation, officials say that the US is considering deployments of Patriot missile systems into the Baltic states for their own military exercises, though they say it’s conceivable the missiles would be withdrawn before Russia’s own operation since they would not be a permanent deployment.
The Pentagon has, of course, already thrown thousands of US troops at a buildup on the Russian border in the past year, and officials are playing up additional naval deployments in the region in August and September as being designed specifically to respond to Russian wargames.
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