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NATO is strengthening its military capabilities in Eastern Europe

Réunion à Bruxelles des ministres de la Défense de l'Otan.

Meeting in Brussels of defense ministers of NATO Photo credits:. YVES HERMAN / REUTERS

the 28 member countries NATO adopted in Brussels on Wednesday new measures to deter Russia from any military initiative in the Baltics and in Eastern Europe.

This is one of the consequences of annexation of Crimea by Russia there nearly two years, and tensions in eastern Ukraine NATO will strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries. Meeting in Brussels, the defense ministers of the 28 allies, approved Wednesday a “forward presence in Eastern Alliance” Atlantic, said the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

If possible attack, the objective is to rapidly deploy land forces, air and sea in the threatened areas. According to a principle of rotation, it is also prepositioning of forces in the Baltic States and Poland to install warehouses and regularly organize joint exercises based on the rapid reaction force. Defence Ministers also agreed to increase the size of the quick reaction force from 13,000 to 40,000 men, and create a more responsive intervention force operational within days, 5,000 men strong and with a air and naval support.

Last year, the defense ministers of NATO had already decided to strengthen the presence of NATO in Eastern Europe to reassure allies in Europe East, as the opening of logistics centers, pre-positioning of equipment, sending fighter jets in the Baltics or the deployment of more ships in the Baltic and the Black sea.

The United States will invest $ 3 billion

Ultimately, NATO will have a thousand soldiers in each of six countries that it intends to protect: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia , Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. These troops will be supported by the joint rapid reaction force that brings airmen, sailors and special forces. At its next summit in July in Warsaw (Poland), NATO should give more details on this deployment.

In this context, the United States will take the opportunity to beef up its military presence in Europe. Washington wants to spend in 2017 a budget of $ 3.4 billion (3 billion euros) this “European reinsurance initiative.” “It will not be like what happened in the days of the Cold War but still pose a serious deterrent,” said US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who stressed the need for all Member States of the NATO to contribute to this funding.

the general secretary of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, is due to meet the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Munich. It will explain that these are defensive measures. “Our deterrence is based on a combination of this forward presence, and our ability to build quickly if required” troops already deployed in the east, said Jens Stoltenberg, while Moscow regularly warns against “permanent parking “allied combat forces on its border would be contrary to the NATO-Russia founding Act signed in 1997.

(with Reuters and AFP)

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