NATO to discuss reinforcing troops in Poland-German defense ministry

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 01, 2014 2:53 PM

BERLIN (Reuters) - NATO defense ministers will discuss temporarily reinforcing forces in Poland when they meet in Brussels this week, a spokesman for the German defense ministry said on Sunday, a move that would be aimed at reassuring countries nervous about Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

The spokesman said the 28-member alliance would consider reinforcing its Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin.

In Brussels, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said NATO defense ministers would on Tuesday review measures the alliance had taken given Russia's actions towards Ukraine.

She said this could include "enhanced air patrols over the Baltic states, AWACS surveillance planes over Poland and Romania, more exercises, and an enhanced naval presence by NATO allies from the Baltic to the Black Sea."

"Defense ministers will also discuss the longer-term implications of the crisis and consider a readiness action plan in preparation for the Wales summit in September," she added.

In April Poland's defense minister said Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula made it vital that NATO station significant numbers of troops in eastern Europe and ignore any objections Russia might have.

Russia says deployment of significant NATO forces close to Russia would violate the 1997 Founding Act, an agreement between Moscow and the alliance.

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Eastern European states are nervous about Russia after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and massed 40,000 troops on Ukraine's borders. NATO is trying to provide reassurance with temporary deployments of military forces and exercises.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin and Adrian Croft in Brussels; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Andrew Roche and Cynthia Osterman)