NATO seeks troops to deter Russia on eastern flank

NATO seeks troops to deter Russia on eastern flank

NATO will press allies to contribute to its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War as the alliance prepares for a protracted quarrel with Moscow, Reuters reports.

With Russia's aircraft carrier heading to Syria in a show of force along Europe's shores, alliance defense ministers aim to make good on a July promise by NATO leaders to send forces to the Baltic states and eastern Poland from early next year.

The United States hopes for binding commitments from Europe to fill four battle groups of some 4000 troops, part of NATO's response to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and concern it could try a similar tactic in Europe's ex-Soviet states.

France, Denmark, Italy and other allies are expected to join the four battle groups led by the United States, Germany, Britain and Canada to go to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, with forces ranging from armored infantry to drones.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the commitments would be "a clear demonstration of our transatlantic bond." 

However, the alliance is still struggling for a similar strategy in the Black Sea region. Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey are expected to soon come forward with a plan to increase naval and air patrols in the area, as well as a multinational NATO brigade in Romania.

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