03:33 GMT01 December 2020
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    Estonia expects NATO military presence in the country to increase with more Alliance units arriving in the coming months, Commander-in-Chief of the Estonian Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Riho Terras said Wednesday.

    TALLINN (Sputnik) – Earlier in February, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on the Alliance's ministers to increase the military presence in Eastern Europe in order to send a "powerful signal to deter any aggression."

    "In the coming months, we expect divisions from Germany, Poland and several other NATO allies to arrive in Estonia. This will further enhance the basis of the military deterrence," Terras said, speaking at the opening of a military parade to celebrate the 98th anniversary of Estonia’s independence.

    The commander-in-chief added that NATO aircraft had already started carrying out sorties from the Amari airbase near Tallinn, while in the city of Tapa, US soldiers are serving alongside Estonian troops.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European countries bordering Russia, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext for the move.

    In September, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any NATO advancement toward Russian borders would prompt Moscow to take counter-measures to ensure the country's national security.

    Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns over NATO's military buildup along its western borders, warning that the alliance's expansion undermines regional and global security.

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    NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Estonia
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