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Estonia Calls For Permanent NATO Force

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves

Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has called for a permanent NATO force to be stationed in his country.

Ilves told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that Estonia was "part of a group of countries who are mentioned in a threatening way" by Russia.

A U.S. infantry company numbering 150 soldiers is currently NATO's only presence in Estonia, but it is not permanent.

Ilves said 150 soldiers "is not a lot, so we do think that further stationing of troops at a higher number is only reasonable."

Russian military maneuvers on Estonia's border have triggered concern in Europe that Moscow could attempt to destabilize its bordering countries.

NATO has pledged a 5,000-strong task force and command centers in six former Soviet republics, including one in Estonia.

Estonia joined NATO in 2004.

Based on reporting by AFP and BBC