- Title: NATO Secretary-General meets U.S., Germany defence ministers
- Date: 26th October 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) FLAGS OUTSIDE NATO HEADQUARTERS
- Embargoed: 10th November 2016 15:11
- Keywords: NATO Stoltenberg Carter von der Leyen Russia
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: NATO,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00155N87RB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held separate meetings with the U.S. defense secretary and German defence minister on Wednesday (October 26) on the sidelines of a NATO defence ministers council as tensions with Russia in the Baltics rise.
With Russia's aircraft carrier heading to Syria in a show of force along Europe's shores, alliance defence 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 4,000 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 armoured infantry to drones.
Russian media reported on Wednesday that Russia was sharply upgrading the firepower of its Baltic Fleet by adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter NATO's build-up in the region.
There was no official confirmation from Moscow, but the reports will raise tensions in the Baltics, already heightened since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and cause particular alarm in Poland and Lithuania which border Russia's base there.
The reported deployment comes as NATO is planning its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War to deter possible Russian aggression.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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