03:47 GMT +312 November 2019
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    War ships of the NATO take part in a military drill on the Black Sea

    Defense, You Say? NATO Unveils Six Command Centers in Eastern Europe

    © AFP 2019 / DANIEL MIHAILESCU
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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    NATO's six new command and control centers have become operational across Central and Eastern Europe as part of the bloc's large-scale campaign aimed at increasing its military presence close to Russia's borders.

    Formally known as the NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs), they are designed to coordinate the increasing number of war-games and assist the bloc's newly-minted rapid reaction force in its deployment to the eastern border of the alliance.

    The centers (NATO calls them small headquarters) are located in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania – the countries often complaining of an imminent but imaginary threat from Russia.

    NATO claims the move is meant to reassure its members that the alliance is committed to protecting them. It should allegedly be viewed as a measure aimed at boosting defense to tackle "security challenges from the east and the south," as the bloc put it in its press release.

    However, Russia sees it as a sign of the bloc's growing assertiveness and military buildup in a region that no country, including Moscow, is threatening. Moreover, NATO's enhanced war games and the US decision to preposition heavy weaponry in what once was a part of the Soviet bloc put European security at risk.

    The move is part of package of measures agreed upon at NATO's 2014 Wales Summit and it's only the beginning. The bloc is expected to establish additional command and control centers in the future.

    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014
    © Sputnik /
    NATO exercises and deployments near Russia since 2014
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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

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    NATO, military buildup, command center, Baltic Region, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Russia
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