NATO allies preparing to put 4 battalions at eastern border with Russia – WSJ
Western allies are preparing to put four battalions – a force of about 4,000 troops – in Poland and the Baltic countries as part of an effort by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to reinforce its border with Russia as Moscow steps up military activity, The Wall Street Journal reported referring to Western officials.
The U.S. is likely to provide two battalions, while Germany and Britain would likely provide a battalion each, WSJ writes.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, visiting Brussels, confirmed the overall size of the force and said the buildup was a response to more Russian activity around the Baltics – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – where tensions have been rising, according to the report.
"The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops," Work said in an interview.
"From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior," he said.
Russian officials have repeatedly said their own buildup and exercises are a response to NATO's troop buildup and aggressive posture to Moscow, according to WSJ.
As reported, NATO defense ministers in February approved in principle the deployment of an Eastern European troop presence, though diplomats said the new contribution numbers aren't finalized. NATO's military arm, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, has sent the recommendations to the alliance headquarters in Brussels, where they are being reviewed, as reported.