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NATO Chief Says Bloc Seeing Biggest Expansion of Defense System Since Cold War

© REUTERS / INTS KALNINSNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia November 28, 2021.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia November 28, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.11.2021
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RIGA (Sputnik) - NATO has been consistently taking steps toward the largest expansion of its collective defense system since the end of the Cold War, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.
"And over the last years, we have actually implemented the largest and the biggest reinforcements of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War, with the four battlegroups in the three Baltic countries and Poland, with more naval presence, continued air policing, and also higher readiness of forces," Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference following a meeting with Latvian President Egils Levits.
As part of its security efforts, NATO has tripled the size of its response force to over 40,000 troops and increased the number of military exercises in the region, Stoltenberg noted. He also expressed the bloc's solidarity with the Baltic states and Poland concerning the migrant crisis on the border with Belarus, which he accused of using "hybrid tactics" against NATO allies.
Stoltenberg met Levits ahead of the NATO foreign ministers' meeting, set to take place in Riga from November 30 to December 1.
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The border area between Belarus and Poland was recently the scene of massive gathering of migrants camping on the Belarusian side trying to enter the European Union through the Polish border. Warsaw responded by tightening border security and sending more military personnel to prevent them from crossing.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday that Western countries are using the situation with migrants to contain the Belarusian military in case of a conflict against Russia.
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