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(AGI) Rome, June 23 - The U.S. is poised to send heavy weaponsto Europe to strengthen NATO's eastern front near Russia andassuage concerns over the Baltic states' territorial integrity."We will temporarily stage one armoured brigade combat team'svehicles and associated equipment in countries in Central andEastern Europe," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter saidduring a joint press conference with Baltic defense chiefs inTallinn on Tuesday. Five Eastern European nations - Estonia,Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Poland - have agreed to host"battalion-sized elements" of the armaments for drills andtraining, he stated. Germany will also participate in theoperations. The equipment will include around 250 tanks,Bradley fighting vehicles and Howitzer artillery guns. "Weintend to move those equipment sets around as exercises movearound. They're not static. Their purpose is to enable richertraining and more mobility to forces in Europe," Carter said.Washington's decision threatens to deepen tensions with Moscoweven further: a week prior, Russian defense ministry officialGeneral Yuri Yakubov stated that such a manoeuvre would be "themost aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the ColdWar". "Russia will have no option but to build up its forcesand resources on the Western strategic front," he then warned.Flanked by the Baltic defense chiefs, Carter quoted a speech byBarack Obama during his visit in 2014: "You lost yourindependence once before. With NATO, you will never lose itagain." The U.S. and NATO are "committed to defending theterritorial integrity of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania", hesaid. The U.S. "does not seek a cold, let alone a hot war withRussia", he stressed. "We do not seek to make Russia an enemy.But make no mistake, we will defend our allies." "We havereasons to believe that Russia views the Baltic region as oneof NATO's most vulnerable areas, a place where NATO's resolveand commitment could be tested," stated Estonia's DefenseMinister Sven Misker. The announcement on Tuesday was partlyrevealed a week earlier by NATO Secretary General JensStoltenberg, who announced "the biggest reinforcement of ourcollective defences since the end of the Cold War". TheAlliance intends to double the size of its rapid responseforces to between 30,000 and 40,000 men, he stated. "TheAmerican move sends a signal to both Russia, U.S. allies andother global powers that the U.S. is a leading global militarypower able to counter Russian threats in the region, that it'snot a power in decline," commented Marcin Terlikowski, anexpert from the Polish Institute of International Affairs.. .