Mark Hodge — The Sun Jan 4, 2017
PRESIDENT Obama has deployed US special forces troops along Lithuania’s border with “aggressive” Russia.
Tensions between Washington and the Kremlin have reached Cold War levels amid reports Vladimir Putin is deploying nuke-ready missiles in the Russian province of Kaliningrad – which borders Poland, Belarus and Lithuania.
And Lithuanian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite confirmed America has offered additional military support following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
She said: “The United States was the first to offer additional safety assurance measures to the Baltic countries following the deterioration of the security situation in the region after the annexation of the Crimea.”
She added: “US Special Operations Forces presence in Lithuania is one of the deterrents” against military threats by Putin’s aggressive regime, reports the Express.
US military chief General Raymond T Thomas told the New York Times that America has a “persistent” presence in the Baltic states bordering Russia.
He added that many former Eastern Bloc countries are “scared to death” of Russia and the vulnerable states are “desperate” for America’s leadership.
The US and its Nato allies will send battalions of up to 1,200 to each of the three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – and Poland by spring this year, reports the New York Times.
Lithuania’s foreign minister Linas Linkevicius confirmed Russia’s military activity in Kaliningrad is terrifying the region.
He said: “Iskander missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads have been deployed. There are S-400 missiles and modernised jets.”
Linkevicius branded Russian behaviour in the region “military hooliganism” and called on Nato to take action and offer more support to beleaguered Ukraine.
He said: “Russia likes to create problems, conflict and then suggest some ideas how to mitigate, how to mediate – and some of our colleagues say ‘look they are cooperating’.”
In November, Putin’s naval forces unveiled their latest super-stealth submarine which has been deployed in the Black Sea as a shocking new report revealed Russia is “taking over” the region.
Kremlin bosses promised Russia would never allow the sea to become a “Nato lake” and they firmly believe the military alliance would crumble if, as feared, the Americans pull out.
Relations between the outgoing Obama administration and Russia have soured following allegations that Putin ordered the email hack which helped scupper Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
The White House has since expelled 35 Russian diplomats and has shut down two “spy” compounds in New York and Maryland in response to what it claims is a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow.