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Lithuania Wants NATO Command To Move Closer To Eastern Borders


U.S. General Curtis Michael Scaparrotti (left) talks with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Vilnius on March 16.

U.S. General Curtis Michael Scaparrotti (left) talks with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Vilnius on March 16.

Lithuania’s president says NATO should move its command centers closer to the alliance’s eastern borders to deter the "growing threat from Russia."

President Dalia Grybauskaite on March 16 said NATO’s current location in Western Europe is a relic of the Cold War and that more forces should be redeployed.

"The current NATO command structures and military forces were positioned according to the Cold War logic -- in Europe's west and south," Grybauskaite said after talks with U.S. General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO's supreme allied commander.

With the "growing threat from Russia, it is necessary to redeploy allied forces to the eastern flank," she said.

She said NATO has been "too slow" to redeploy its command structure from Western Europe.

Scaparrotti told reporters that advanced technologies enable the Western military alliance "to command and control from different locations."

Since World War II, U.S. and NATO forces have been stationed in Western Europe, mainly in Germany, Britain, and Italy.

But NATO is beefing up its presence in Eastern Europe, deploying four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland on a rotational basis in an effort to reassure Eastern members in the face of Russia's military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Hundreds of NATO troops and heavy equipment have been moved to Lithuania as part of that process.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
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