Baku, 29 April 2016 – Newtimes.az
Three leading members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are preparing to deploy four battalions of about 4,000 troops in the Baltics to counteract the perceived Russian threat, US media reported Friday, citing Western military officials.
The United States planned to contribute two of the battalions, while the United Kingdom and Germany would provide one each at the military alliance’s eastern flank, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops… From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior," Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the media during his visit to Brussels confirming the scope of the reinforcement.
German officials reportedly said they were deliberating plans, ahead of the July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw, to lead a battalion based in Lithuania. A final decision has not yet been reached, the newspaper claims.
At a February 10 North Atlantic Council ministerial meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced an enhanced multinational rotational presence in Eastern Europe "supported by a program of exercises."
Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in eastern European countries bordering Russia, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext for the move.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and could harm regional and global stability.