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NATO Defense Ministers Agree Eastern Force

  • RFE/RL

Polish 6th Airborne Brigade soldiers (right) walk with U.S. 82nd Airborne Division soldiers during the NATO allies' Anakonda-16 exercise near Torun, Poland on June 7.

Polish 6th Airborne Brigade soldiers (right) walk with U.S. 82nd Airborne Division soldiers during the NATO allies' Anakonda-16 exercise near Torun, Poland on June 7.

Meeting in Brussels, NATO defense ministers have agreed on measures to strengthen the alliance's presence in Eastern Europe, amid tensions with Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on June 14 that NATO would "deploy by rotation four robust multinational battalions" to the three Baltic states and Poland.

Stoltenberg said the ministers also agreed on measures to enhance defense and deterrence in the Black Sea region, saying, "There will also be more prepositioned equipment and supplies."

"NATO will continue to protect and defend all allies against any threats coming from any direction," Stoltenberg earlier told reporters. "That is the reason why we implemented the biggest reinforcement to our collective defense since the end of the Cold War."

"We don't seek a confrontation with Russia, we don't want a new Cold War," Stoltenberg also said. "We will continue to strive for more constructive and cooperative relationship with Russia."

Russia says any presence of NATO troops close to its borders is a threat to its security and warns it will take measures to respond.

Relations between the alliance and Moscow have reached their lowest point since the Cold War over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and its support for separatists in the country's east.

The two-day Brussels meeting ending on June 15 comes three weeks before a summit in Warsaw.

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