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    The NATO flag is seen through barbed wire as it flies in front of the new NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 24, 2017

    Few NATO States Ready to Rapidly Deploy in Possible Conflict w/ Russia - Report

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Only several thousand out of one million military personnel of NATO's European members would be ready to being deployed rapidly in case a military conflict with Russia occurs, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing alliance's current and former officials.

    The events of 2014, when a conflict in eastern Ukraine started and Crimea rejoined Russia, prompted NATO to deploy more troops and equipment around Russian borders. The EU states’ defense budgets had been decreasing, resulting in many combat formations becoming under equipped and inadequately trained, the outlet noted.

    However, since 2014, the United States has been calling on its European allies to invest once again in their armies in order to be ready to react to what NATO calls "the threat from Russia."

    READ MORE: Trump, Merkel Praise NATO's Sanctions Against Russia — White House

    Now Washington wants to enhance the combat readiness of European armies’ troops. Moreover, the United States seeks to ensure that at least 30,000 troops and additional aircraft and vessels would be ready for deployment within 30 days, the publication pointed out.

    "The idea is to get a readiness mind-set, to identify forces where readiness needs to be enhanced, but spread that out among the nations," Hans Binnendijk, a former US official in the administration of President Bill Clinton, told the newspaper.

    Alexander Vershbow, a former NATO deputy secretary-general, cited by the outlet, said that several thousand troops, which had been deployed by the alliance next to the Russian borders, need to be supported by 30 ready battalions, as they are not prepared for prolonged fighting.

    The outlet also noted that almost all European NATO allies have readiness problems. For example, Greece and Turkey have large armies, however their ability to be deployed to a trouble spot beyond their region is poor.

    READ MORE: Russia Shows No Signs of Aggression in the Baltic — NATO General

    The relations between Russia and the western countries, particularly NATO member states, have worsened significantly since early March, when former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned on UK soil.

    The United Kingdom has put the blame for the attack on Russia, while Moscow has refuted the allegations categorically, pointing to the lack of proof of its involvement in the incident.

    On Wednesday, the European Union represented a plan of action for increasing military mobility within the bloc and beyond its borders, aimed at increasing the level of interactions between the EU member states in the event of crisis situations.


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