ALEXANDROUPOLIS – NATO is using Greece’s northern port city of Alexandroupoli as a key transit point for getting military equipment to Ukraine and Eastern European states as a bulwark against Russia.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen the city elevated geopolitically and an important site for the American military which is getting an expanded presence in Greece.
The port, noted Kathimerini, has been seen as even more essential in the wake of Turkey shutting down the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits to military vessels and the transport of military equipment.
US military equipment is being sent through Alexandroupoli to Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, NATO reinforcing its eastern flank after Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded the defense alliance remove troops.
Defense sources not named told Kathimerini that military equipment has already been sent to Ukraine through Alexandroupoli, and 20 Bushmaster armored combat vehicles from Australian will go through there.
Poland recently received Abrams tanks and Bradley armored personnel carriers from the United States, the report noted, with NATO stepping up its visibility on the alliance’s borders, including Greece.
The region of Thrace, being close to the Black Sea, is also seeing the launching of patrol planes, some off the deck of the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, and a passage for unarmed drones from Sicily to monitor the seas.
More US drones, the Reaper version, could be staged on the Andravida Air Base in western Greece, the paper said, adding that the Larissa Air Base, in Central Greece, is undergoing a 35-million-euro ($38.03 million) upgrade.
That’s being monitored by US military officials, it was also said.
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt also noted the significance of the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) and of vaporizing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Alexandroupoli.
That has emerged as even more important with Greece and the European Union trying to get off reliance on Russian energy which Putin has used as a weapon to try to get the west to back down from any further sanctions.
“As Europe is now moving rapidly to reduce its vulnerability to Russian energy blackmail and get away from Russian gas the Alexandroupoli FSRU becomes more and more important. Everybody is trying to build FSRUs now. The Germans within days of February 24 announced their first two FSRUs, Copelouzos has announced a second Alexandroupoli FSRU. We have been hearing from other groups working in Volos, in Thessaloniki, in Corinth. We will have to see how much and what the market can support,” Pyatt said.