U.S. Marines stationed in Bulgaria are set to receive tanks and heavy artillery as part of NATO efforts to quell fears over Russian hostility in Eastern Europe. The Combined Army Company will get four Abrams main battle tanks, three howitzer artillery cannons and six light-armored reconnaissance vehicles, the Military Times reported Monday.

The weapons and vehicles made the long trip from a military base in North Carolina to Bremerhaven, Germany, during the weekend, according to the report. The next leg of the journey will see them arrive at the training base of Novo Selo in northwestern Bulgaria later this week. There are currently around 160 Marines on a six-month rotation at the base.

Since annexing Crimea in March 2014 and assisting pro-Russian rebels fighting the east Ukraine war, Russia has shown an increased level of hostility across European skies and territorial waters. The Cold War-style military posture has caused alarm among many European countries, which have looked toward the U.S. for advice and military presence.

To that end, the U.S. military has begun slowly re-establishing a presence along the eastern front with Russia, including inside many former Soviet Republics and satellite states such as Estonia, Latvia and Poland. While the presence of the troops is a significant political statement of European support from Washington, the level of troops is unlikely to do much in a real battle scenario. 

"From the Bulgarians' point of view, having the American flag flying there is proof to anyone that the U.S. is committed to the region," said Luke Coffey, a former Army captain who's now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank. "At the end of the day, if Russia decided to invade Estonia, a company of soldiers isn’t going to do much."