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NATO Pushing For “Biggest Military Build-Up On Russia’s Borders” Since The Cold War

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As Russia pushes on with the biggest naval deployment since the cold war as Russia’s only carrier group slowly headed toward Syria in a show of force along Europe’s shores, NATO defense ministers are focusing on a ground expansion and aim to make good on a July promise by NATO leaders to send forces to the Baltic states and eastern Poland from early next year. As a result, NATO will press its member allies on Wednesday to “contribute to its biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Cold War as the alliance prepares for a protracted quarrel with Moscow.

According to Reuters, the US hopes for binding commitments from Europe to fill four battle groups of some 4,000 troops, part of NATO’s response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and concern it could try a similar tactic in Europe’s ex-Soviet states.  France, Denmark, Italy and other allies are among the nations expected to join the four battle groups led by the United States, Germany, Britain and Canada to go to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, with forces ranging from armored infantry to drones.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary-General, said the commitments would be “a clear demonstration of our transatlantic bond.” They will also send a clear message to Russia that its concerns about NATO build up on its borders were correct. Diplomats added that it would also send a message to Donald Trump, who has complained that European allies do not pay their way in the alliance. The battle groups will be backed by NATO’s 40,000-strong rapid-reaction force, and if need be, further follow-on forces, for any potential conflict, which could move into Baltic states and Poland on rotation.

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