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    At the Gates: NATO Says Its Military at Russian Border 'Below Substantial'

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    NATO earlier said that its Response Force, stationed close to Russia in Eastern Europe, will more than double to include 30,000 military personnel.

    U.S soldiers walk next to a Patriot missile defence battery during join exercises at the military grouds in Sochaczew, near Warsaw
    © REUTERS / Franciszek Mazur/Agencja Gazeta
    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — The presence of NATO forces near the Russian border is below definition of substantial, the military bloc's spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Sputnik on Friday.

    In response to reunification of Crimea with Russia, viewed by NATO as illegitimate despite the referendum that took place on the peninsula, the military bloc increased its presence in Eastern Europe along with air, naval patrols and troops on exercises.

    "This presence is rotational and well below any reasonable definition of ‎substantial combat forces," Lungescu said.

    On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that bloc's military buildup in Eastern Europe violated the Russia-NATO Founding Act, envisaging that NATO would not permanently station substantial combat forces near the Russian border.

    The nearly year-long conflict in southeast Ukraine has served as a justification for NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. The military bloc, along with its political and economic counterparts, claims Moscow is involved in the ongoing fighting. Russia has repeatedly denied its involvement in confrontation between Kiev and Donbass.

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

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    NATO, military, Oana Lungescu, Russia, Eastern Europe
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