NATO Is Beefing Up Baltic Exercises Amid Russian Excursions

NATO US baltic russiaKacper Pempel/ReutersThe United States is sending about 600 soldiers to Poland and the three Baltic states for infantry exercises, the Pentagon said, one of its highest-profile steps yet to reassure NATO allies after Russia’s seizure of Crimea.

NATO’s top military commander, General Philip Breedlove, said on Tuesday the defence alliance is looking at beefing up its exercises in the Baltic Sea region in response to a surge last month in Russian military maneuvers there.

“There will be several adaptations of our exercise program. The first series of changes will not be an increase in number but they will be to group them together … to better prepare our forces and to allow nations to work together as a NATO force, but we are looking at increasing some exercises,” Breedlove said on a visit to a NATO base at Szczecin in north-west Poland.

Nato v. russiaMike Nudelman/Business InsiderThis map depicts the larger confrontation between Russia and NATO and the possible return to Cold War power dynamics in Europe.

Breedlove also said Russia continues to provide aid for separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine, clouding prospects for peace talks.

“Yes, there was a lull, but what there was not a lull in is the continued resupply, continued training and continued organisation of the forces east of the line of conflict,” Breedlove said. “Their activities continue to provide a concern.”

(Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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