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The US will increase its military presence in Eastern Europe in response to an “aggressive Russia”, the Pentagon has announced.

From 2017, three fully manned US combat brigades will be deployed.

In February, the Pentagon announced plans to quadruple its budget for European defense in 2017.

The additional presence will increase US ability to conduct military exercises in the region.

The plan demonstrates “our strong and balanced approach to reassuring our NATO allies and partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in eastern Europe and elsewhere”, said Gen. Philip Breedlove, the senior US commander in Europe.US troops in Eastern Europe

“Our allies and partners will see more capability. They will see a more frequent presence of an armored brigade with more modernized equipment in their countries,” Gen. Philip Breedlove added.

Each brigade will rotate through the region for nine months before being replaced.

There are about 4,500 soldiers in a brigade, bringing with them military vehicles and other equipment.

“There will be a division’s worth of stuff to fight if something happens,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work told the Wall Street Journal.

Relations between Russia and the West have plummeted since Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March 2014.

The intervention sparked fears that Russia was considering other incursions into neighboring countries.

Russia has accused NATO of using the situation in Ukraine as an excuse to move closer to Russian borders.

“Stories are being spread that Russia will send its tanks into the Baltic states, into Sofia or into Budapest. No-one intends to do that,” Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Some analysts suggested the US military could be planning for the post-Obama era.