NATO's supreme commander in Europe said that an armored vehicles convoy of U.S. troops crossing eastern Europe is a "good message of reassurance” to member nations for the military alliance’s support.
Speaking Tuesday in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, General Philip Breedlove said that the exercise tested many things that "hadn't been done for a long time in NATO ... like multiple border crossings.”
He added that “the crowds have come out to welcome these soldiers and their vehicles as they returned home." He said that was a “a good message to our nations and we were able to exercise some skills that we haven't exercised in quite some time."
Breedlove said that a decision on whether Romania would host heavy military equipment from NATO would be announced soon.
The so-called "Dragoon Ride'' convoy started its journey last week from Estonia and passed through Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, before entering the Czech Republic on its way home to a German base.
The convoy received a warm welcome in Poland and the Baltics, NATO members that have voiced concerns about their security because of the armed conflict in Ukraine.
Earlier Tuesday a Czech citizen, Milan Wunsch, greeting NATO troops passing through his country, said that he expected them “to stop the Russian expansion which is advancing toward Europe."
"If the Russians think we belong to them,” said Wunsch, “these people [U.S. Army] are here to stop them."
NATO troops participated in the Atlantic Resolve exercise intended to demonstrate NATO's readiness to defend its members.