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Slovenia Plans To Contribute Troops To Latvia For NATO Force

The government of NATO-member Slovenia has proposed sending 50 soldiers to Latvia as part of a NATO effort to boost the alliance's presence in the Baltic states.

But officials in Ljubljana said on January 19 that the move will be debated in Slovenia's parliament before a final decision is adopted.

Many in the Baltic states -- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania -- have expressed concerns about increasingly aggressive moves by Russia after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and aided separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.

All three Baltic countries are former Soviet republics that joined NATO in 2004 and have signed bilateral defense pacts with the United States to ease the deployment of troops and equipment.

The Slovenian deployment will be part of what NATO calls an "enhanced forward presence" strategy in the region.

"It is a specific yet justified, responsible, and proportionate measure of the alliance with a strongly deterrent and defensive nature adopted in support of maintaining peace," the Slovenian government said.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has declared NATO "obsolete," raising concerns in the easternmost parts of the European Union about the U.S. commitment there.