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    Polish Army soldiers check their tank after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015

    Breaking the Rules: How NATO 'Could Undermine' Founding Act With Russia

    © AP Photo / Alik Keplicz
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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    NATO's recently unveiled plans to steeply increase its troop levels in Europe by deploying a third permanent brigade and 4,000 soldiers, mainly in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region, could drastically affect the bloc's already strained relations with Russia, Professor Hall Gardner told RT.

    These initiatives have not been approved yet.

    Permanent NATO bases are an issue of particular concern, the analyst added, because it is a major policy change for the alliance. The bloc has previously built up its military capabilities close to Russia's borders through rotational deployment.

    "Moscow has a problem with just the idea of rotating forces. But, as I said, those aren't permanent and can be more easily drawn back than a proposed third permanent deployment. This is a major issue and it could undermine the NATO–Russia Founding Act," Gardner warned.

    The NATO–Russia Founding Act of 1997 is the document "in which the US had promised not to permanently deploy either troops or nuclear weapons in the new NATO countries," Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the American University in Paris explained.

    In this June 18, 2015,file photo flags wave in front of soldiers who take positions with their army vehicles during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland
    © AP Photo / Alik Keplicz
    In this June 18, 2015,file photo flags wave in front of soldiers who take positions with their army vehicles during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland

    Russian officials have been concerned with NATO's increasing assertiveness in Europe following the outbreak of the Ukrainian civil war. The bloc has used the conflict as a pretext to secure more funding, conduct more war-games and preposition military equipment. 

    Moreover, US and NATO officials, including the bloc's new Supreme Allied Commander, US Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, have often referred to Moscow as a threat.

    On Thursday, Deputy US State Secretary Antony J. Blinken called on all NATO members to strengthen their "overall deterrence and defense posture" to counter "emerging challenges in the east and south," referring to Russia. "It means ensuring rotational land, sea, and air presence along NATO's eastern edge," he added.

    Russian officials have always refuted these unfounded accusations, saying that Moscow is not a threat to any country and urging NATO to focus on areas of shared strategic interests. "What we need is more of that – discussing military transparency, Afghanistan, Crimea, and ultimately Syria, as well," Gardner agreed.

    Topic:
    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

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    Tags:
    saber-rattling, military buildup, permanent bases, geopolitics, NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, NATO, Curtis Scaparrotti, Baltic Region, Eastern Europe, Russia
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