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NATO Chief: Alliance Won't Be 'Dragged Into Arms Race' With Russia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance will not engage in an arms race with Russia but must counter Moscow's "aggressive actions" in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said on June 24, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, "We will not be dragged into an arms race but we must keep our countries safe."

Citing Moscow's annexation of Crimea and its continued support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, Stoltenberg added, "There is no doubt Russia is responsible for aggressive actions in Europe."

Defense ministers from NATO are due to approve measures, including more than doubling the alliance's rapid response force.

On June 23, Washington said it would preposition heavy weapons on the NATO's eastern flank.

Stoltenberg said NATO's response was "defensive, proportionate and in line with all our international obligations."

"Russia continues to send troops, forces and supplies into eastern Ukraine. There is no doubt that Russia is responsible for aggressive actions in Europe," he said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters