06:58 GMT17 February 2020
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    NATO is placing hundreds of thousands of troops on higher alert amid growing tensions with Russia, alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The NATO chief did not state any precise numbers, while UK Permanent Representative to NATO Adam Thomson told the newspaper that some 300,000 troops would be impacted by the measures, with the aim of shortening response times from half a year to two months.

    “We have seen Russia being much more active in many different ways… We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among NATO allies and that is exactly the reason why NATO is responding. We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with The Times, published on Monday.

    The troops will reportedly act in support of current NATO fast response troops that have recently been boosted and have a response time of several days.

    After July's NATO summit, Stoltenberg said that NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, especially in Eastern European countries neighboring Russia, using Moscow’s alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.


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