22:42 GMT26 January 2020
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    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)

    The US House Armed Services Committee is poised to pass its 2017 defense spending bill on Wednesday, which includes an increase in funds to the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) aimed at deterring Russia in Europe, according to the text of the draft bill.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In February, the Department of Defense released its budget proposal requesting $3.4 billion in funds for the ERI, which will boost US military support for NATO to counter Russia.

    "This funding begins the transition from an assurance posture to deterrence against Russian aggression," Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said in a summary of the defense spending bill.

    The Armed Services Committee said it is prepared to authorize extra funds, beyond the $3.4 billion, toward additional intelligence and warning capabilities, deploying the Javelin anti-tank missile system, and upgrading the Abrams and Bradley tanks for the European theater.

    Congress is also seeking to increase funds for additional special operations forces to train European partners and maintain presence.

    The Armed Services Committee is scheduled to vote on the defense spending bill on Wednesday. The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act could authorize a total of $610 billion in US defense spending in the 2017 fiscal year.

    The US government has accused Russia of acting provocatively towards NATO states and eastern European nations. Russia maintains the right to protect its national interests and has repeatedly rejected claims that it has meddled in the affairs of neighboring states.

    Moreover, Moscow has warned that the US and NATO amassing troops and personnel on Russia’s borders is provocative and can destabilize the region.

    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)


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