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    US troops from the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Regiment emplace a launching station of the Patriot air and missile defence system at a test range in Sochaczew, Poland.file photo

    Pentagon Chief Accuses Russia of Attempts to Undermine NATO's Capabilities

    © AFP 2019 / JANEK SKARZYNSKI
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia is trying to undermine NATO's cohesion and capabilities, Pentagon chief James Mattis said during a meeting with UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson.

    "We face intensifying threats from 'state-based aggression,' from rogue nations like DPRK and Iran to revisionist powers as different as China and Russia… We value the U.K.’s diplomatic, moral and military leadership on the European and global stages, particularly as Russia seeks to undermine and weaken NATO’s cohesion and capabilities," Mattis told his UK counterpart.

    READ MORE: Security Analyst: NATO Putting 'Unprecedented' Level of Pressure on Russia

    The next meeting of NATO defense ministers is scheduled for February 14-15 at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

    Moscow has repeatedly dismissed such claims, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noting that NATO uses the pretext of alleged Russian aggression to deploy more equipment and battalions next to Russian borders.

    The United States, particularly as part of NATO, has been boosting its military presence in Europe since 2014, using the Ukrainian crisis as a pretext for the deployment of additional hardware near Russia's borders. Moscow called the actions provocative and warned that they could lead to regional and global destabilization.

    READ MORE: Moscow Calls on US to Withdraw Nukes From European Territory

    The US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018 stipulates the allocation of $4.6 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) to reassure NATO allies and enhance the US deterrent in Europe as well as improve the resilience of the Baltic nations against alleged Russian aggression.

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    Tags:
    capabilities, aggression, threat, Pentagon, James Mattis, United States, Russia
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