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POLAND, Lithuania discussing PLANS with Washington to harbor US Army EQUIPMENT

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Warsaw and Vilnius are in talks with Washington about the permanent stationing of US army equipment warehouses, officials from the two countries said. Heavy weapons may be stored in the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary. The Polish Defense Ministry tweeted that during his recent visit to Washington Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak was given assurances that a final decision on stationing the warehouses would be taken shortly. Citing US and allied officials, the New York Times reported on Saturday that heavy equipment would be stored in each of the three Baltic nations: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, plus some Eastern European countries - Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary. The Pentagon's far-reaching proposal requires approval from Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and the White House. Should the move be given the go-ahead, it would be the first deployment of military hardware in Europe since the end of the Cold War 25 years ago. The plan falls short of a permanent boots-on-the-ground presence. READ MORE: US considers storing heavy weapons in Baltic and Eastern Europe – report "poised to store" battle tanks, infantry vehicles and other heavy weapons for 5,000 American troops in the Baltic and Eastern European states. The stocks, planned to be stored on allied bases, would be reportedly the same as the Pentagon kept in Kuwait for over a decade after the 1990 US invasion of Iraq. Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas also told Reuters on Sunday that Vilnius is getting ready to host heavy US military equipment. Talks are underway with Washington on a permanent location for the arms. "We think that at least part of it [Abrams and Bradleys] will be in Lithuania and we are in the process of preparing our military infrastructure, so it can be used for such pre-positioning. It is almost ready," Olekas said. READ MORE: NATO starts ‘very high readiness’ force drills in Poland "We have been in talks with our American allies about locating equipment here on a permanent basis, in order to increase our security and support the soldiers stationed here," he added. "If the decision is taken, it will be very positive for our security," Olekas concluded. Estonia’s Defense Minister Sven Mikser has said the US proposal will be discussed with NATO countries on June 24-25, the Delfi news portal reports. READ MORE: 49 NATO vessels, 5,600 troops gear up for major US-led drills in Baltics

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