Around 70 US infantry troops with heavy combat equipment have arrived in Lithuania, the Baltic country's Ministry of National Defence said on Monday.
© AFP/Scanpix

The incoming troops are part of a new shift of the rotated American contingent and they are set to replace on Wednesday the infantry troops from the United States Army in Europe’s 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade, currently stationed in Rukla, central Lithuania.

Under the plan, all in all, the new rotation will include around 160 troops from 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and they will also bring heavy combat equipment, including seven STRYKER armoured personnel carriers, eight BRADLEY infantry fighting vehicles, and two M113 tracked armoured personnel carriers, from their permanent deployment location in Texas.

They will be deployed at the Duke Vaidotas Mechanised Infantry Brigade in Rukla just like the previous rotations. In Lithuania, the US troops will train by taking part in joint exercises with the divisions of the Lithuanian Land Force.

"Under the plan, the incoming US troops will stay in Lithuania until the end of this year and will be later replaced by a new rotation," the ministry said in a statement.

US contingents have been deployed in Lithuania, other Baltic States and Poland on a rotational basis since April as a response to the changes in security situation after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The United States is maintaining military presence of roughly 600 infantry personnel in the Baltic states and Poland.

Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas has said recently that other allied troops should also arrive in Lithuania on a rotation basis in the future, and they might form an international battalion with Lithuanian and American troops. Their exercises would be led by a new international staff officially dubbed "a command and control element" in military terms.

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