11:47 GMT05 March 2021
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    The United States seeks to deter Russia, not engage in conflict with that country, US European Command commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — NATO has been steadily building its military presence in Central and Eastern Europe ever since 2014, using alleged Russian aggression as a pretext. Russia has repeatedly voiced its protest against the increased number of NATO troops near its borders.

    "We don’t seek conflict with them, deterrence in fact has its mission to prevent conflict and war," Scaparrotti told the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

    Scaparrotti argued the United States needed to demonstrate strength to gain Russia's respect.

    "Where they see weakness and they think they can gain [in] their interest or objectives, they will move out on that," he claimed.

    During the hearing, the EUCOM commander repeatedly called for a whole of government approach to countering Russia, incorporating not just military strength, but diplomacy and communication with Moscow.

    During the last NATO summit in July, NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. During the 2014 summit, NATO established a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in response to the alleged Russian threat.


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