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NATO General Says Eastern Buildup Is Response To Russian 'Aggression'

The chairman of NATO's Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, told RFE/RL on May 24 that the alliance's planned buildup on its eastern flank is a direct response to Russian military actions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria.

Pavel, a Czech general, told RFE/RL that "if there were no increases in Russian assertiveness demonstrated in actions in Georgia, in Ukraine, in Crimea, and in Syria, there would not have to be a reaction from the NATO side."

He said NATO, and especially the alliance's easternmost member states, "feel threatened by Russian assertiveness, Russian aggression, in several areas."

Pavel said countries that directly border Russia "wanted to be more assured about the NATO presence and NATO willingness and preparedness to act."

NATO's Military Committee is the senior military authority in the alliance and the primary source of military advice to NATO's civilian decision-making bodies.

Based on reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels