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    US troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland, on June 7, 2016, as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exercise

    Stoltenberg Cites 'Russian Buildup' as Cause of NATO Presence in Baltics, Poland

    © AFP 2019 / JANEK SKARZYNSKI
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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed that the alliance is taking into account Russia's "military buildup" in its military planning.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — He claimed that the alleged Russia's buildup is the reason for NATO's decision to increase presence in three Baltic countries and Poland.

    "First of all, in our military planning we are taking into account the Russian military buildup, also in the Baltic Sea region, and that's also one of the reasons why we have decided to increase our presence in the three Baltic countries and in Poland," Stoltenberg told reporters after a meeting in Brussels with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.

    "We have to remember that both the presence of multinational battalions in the three Baltic countries and Poland, but also the establishment of NATO… units with small headquarters in the three Baltic states and Poland, they are there also to establish better cooperation and coordination with the home defense forces — the Estonian forces, the Lithuanian forces, the Latvian forces and the Polish forces," he said.

    "And they are there also to help prepare a plan for reinforcements if needed," Stoltenberg said.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, especially in Eastern European countries neighboring Russia, using Moscow’s alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

    During the last NATO summit in July, NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. During the 2014 summit, NATO established a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in response to the alleged Russian threat.

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    NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Baltic Region, Poland, Russia
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