The US army is opening a major weapons storage depot in Limburg on Wednesday. The depot will be used to keep and maintain 1,600 tanks, armoured cars and heavy artillery for a US armored brigade combat team, Joinfo.com reports with reference to the Dutch News.
The US depot is located at the former Eygelshoven military base near Kerkrade and will create jobs for around 100 people, particularly in maintenance and security.
The base is being opened by Dutch armed forces chief Tom Middendorp and the most senior US army official in Europe, lieutenant general Ben Hodges.
“Three years ago, the last American tank left Europe; we all wanted Russia to be our partner,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of US Army Europe said, according to The WSJ. “My country is bringing tanks back…as part of our commitment to deterrence in Europe.”
The US and Dutch officials noted that the storage facilities are well away from NATO’s border with Russia, in part to ensure they aren’t seen as provocative and don’t violate the alliance’s agreement with Russia not to permanently station large forces on the border.
But Gen. Tom Middendorp, the Dutch chief of defense, said the new facility is a sign that NATO will stand together.
“We are taking proportionate and measured steps to defend our alliance,” he said. “We want to make sure we are sending a clear signal to Russia that we will not accept any violation of NATO’s territorial integrity.”