Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Four U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams battle tanks and 15 Bradley Fighting Vehicles arrived in Estonia on Monday as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve in support of NATO.
U.S. troops of the 68th Armored Regiment's 1st Battalion arrived Friday, the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement.
"The infantry company's heavy equipment with tanks and armored fighting vehicles arrived at Estonia's Tapa station," Estonian Defense Forces said
The company replaced the 173rd Airborne Brigade's 503rd Infantry Regiment, which arrived in September. The U.S. Department of Defense said the move to Estonia shows how the U.S. forces are able to "move freely from one NATO country to another."
Under Operation Atlantic Resolve, the United States has deployed troops in Europe that will train in Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia for the next eight months as a show of force to directly respond to what the alliance sees as increased Russian aggression.
The operation has been criticized by Russia as a "factor destabilizing European security."
"The movement of equipment and troops into and around Europe marks the beginning of a continuous rotation of armored brigade combat teams from the United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve," the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement. "Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in the Ukraine."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story described Operation Atlantic Resolve as a NATO operation. It is a U.S.-funded operation intended to support NATO.