US troops deployment to Saudi Arabia will stoke tensions: Russia
Russia has warned that a plan by the US administration to deploy thousands of military forces to Saudi Arabia will only add to already simmering tensions in the Middle East region.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov made the remarks on Wednesday, one day after US President Donald Trump notified Congress of the deployment that would increase the total number of American troops in Saudi Arabia to 3,000.
In a letter addressed to the Senate president and speaker of the House of Representative, Trump said the deployment includes radar and missile systems, an air expeditionary wing to support the operation of US fighter aircraft from Saudi Arabia, and two fighter squadrons.
The first group of US forces have arrived in Saudi Arabia, and the remaining will arrive in "the coming weeks, " read the letter, a copy of which was released to the press by the White House.
"With these additional forces, the total number of United States Armed Forces personnel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be approximately 3,000. These personnel will remain deployed as long as their presence is required," it added.
Trump also claimed that the American military build-up in the Middle East is meant to "protect United States interests and enhance force protection in the region against" Iran.
"To assure our partners, deter further Iranian provocative behavior, and bolster regional defensive capabilities, additional United States Armed Forces have been ordered to deploy to the Middle East," he further claimed.
Tensions have been running high between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
In the past few months, the US has also taken a quasi-warlike posture against Iran and stepped up its provocative military moves in the Middle East, among them sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region.