Capping 72 hours of announcements of military buildups in Eastern Europe, NATO today angrily condemned Russia for “sabre rattling” after Russia announced its intentions to respond to US deployments in Eastern Europe with their own deployments in Eastern Europe.
Back on Sunday, the Pentagon started talking about “pre-positioning” heavy weapons along the Russian frontier, including several brigades worth of tanks and armored vehicles. At the time, this was presented as trying to reassure NATO members in the region of support against Russia.
Monday, Russian officials began talking up the possibility of deployments in their exclave Kaliningrad as a retaliatory move. The US feigns surprise, claiming their deployments weren’t targeted at Russia to begin with and didn’t warrant a response.
Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US deployments were the most aggressive act against Russia since the Cold War ended, and talked up improvements to the Russian nuclear arsenal as a way to overcome improved missile defense systems.
Both sides seem determined to keep up the tit-for-tat retaliatory deployments despite already having more forces in the region than they’ll ever need, but Russia seems to at least acknowledge it’s a competition, while the Pentagon is determined to remain unconvincingly coy.