Russia responded to reports of America adding to its military equipment presence in Poland, telling U.S. leaders in a telephone call: If you put more tanks on our western border, we’ll put more weapons on the European Union’s border.
General Yuri Yakubov said Russia was viewing America’s rumored military plans to put tanks and heavy arms in Poland as “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War,” the Daily Mail reported.
And Moscow would respond in kind, he said.
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“Russia,” he said, “will have no option but to build up its forces and resources on the western strategic front.”
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson declined to comment on the unofficial U.S. report. But Yakubov said if America does bolster its allies in the Baltics, the ensuing tensions could lead to a “major war,” the Daily Mail said.
Putin would undoubtedly order more troops “along the whole perimeter of Russia’s western border, including new formations of tank, artillery and aviation units,” he said.
His words were echoed by at least one pro-Putin separatist in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, who warned: “We are actually on the brink of a big war right now,” he said.
In late 2014, the United States deployed about 700 soldiers and 20 tanks to three Baltic States and Poland as a show of force against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Poland shortly after expressed interest in receiving even more U.S. military assistance.