BRUSSELS, August 18 (RIA Novosti) – NATO's leadership implore the leaders of its member-states to approve the long-term deployment of troops to Eastern Europe during its September summit in Wales, NATO's leaders wrote in an article published by The Wall Street Journal.
"We need the presence of NATO forces in Eastern Europe for as long as necessary; upgraded intelligence gathering and sharing; updated defense plans; and an expanded training schedule with more exercises, of more types, in more places, more often," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Philip Breedlove said in the article.
NATO members are scheduled to meet in Wales to discuss the alliance's response to Russia, which it accuses of interfering in Ukrainian affairs.
NATO has strengthened its air-policing missions, deployed more ships to the Black Sea and Baltic Sea, and conducted more exercises in Eastern Europe, citing the need to protect nearby countries from Russia after Crimea rejoined the country following a referendum in March.
The NATO leaders said measures to protect the organization’s allies must remain in place long term.
"NATO also needs to upgrade elements of our rapid-reaction capability, so that the forces could deploy to a given site before a conflict erupts,” the article states. For that, NATOs leaders say the forces need "to pre-position equipment and supplies, so that they can travel light but strike hard if needed."
Poland's city of Szczecin, which is located in the vicinity of the Baltic Sea, is one of the possible bases for the equipment. The city already hosts 200 soldiers from Germany, Denmark and Poland.
At the beginning of June, UK Prime Minister David Cameron supported Breedlove's plan to enhance the NATO Response Force.