21:13 GMT29 May 2020
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    NATO Deputy Spokesperson Carmen Romero said that NATO does not consider an option to increase its military presence near Russia.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — NATO is not discussing an increase in its military presence, despite recent media reports on alliance plans to reinforce troops stationed in countries close to Russian borders, NATO Deputy Spokesperson Carmen Romero told Sputnik on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing diplomatic and military sources, that NATO is considering sending a battalion of up to 1,000 soldiers to Poland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as deploying a single battalion for the entire region.

    "Allies will continue to discuss the next steps to deal with security challenges as we prepare for NATO summit in Warsaw next July, including how to further strengthen collective defense through long-term adaption. But we are not discussing at this stage specific options," Romero said.

    A source in a European ally's mission to NATO confirmed to Sputnik that no specific discussions of NATO troops increase were taking place.

    The source added that any changes in NATO-Russia relations should stay strictly within the rules of the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

    Over the past year, NATO has implemented a Readiness Action Plan, called "the biggest boost to our collective defense since the end of the Cold War," according to the deputy spokesperson.

    The plan envisages a rotational presence of NATO forces in its eastern allies, the creation of six new small headquarters in the region, as well as an intensive exercise program.

    Earlier on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow has repeatedly warned about the inappropriateness and threat posed by an increase in the number of NATO troops positioned along Russia's western border.

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    NATO, Carmen Romero, Russia
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