NATO plans East European bases to counter Russian threat

NATO is to deploy its forces at new bases in Eastern Europe for the first time, in response to the Ukraine crisis and in an attempt to deter the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, from causing trouble in the Baltic states, the alliance’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told The Guardian newspaper.

According to Rasmussen, the NATO summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia’s borders.

“We will adopt what we call a readiness action plan with the aim to be able to act swiftly in this completely new security environment in Europe,” Rasmussen told The Guardian. “We have something already called the NATO response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed. Now it’s our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very high readiness.”

Rasmussen added that in order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements, “you also need some reception facilities in host nations. So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters. The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible NATO presence in the east.”

Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been alarmed at the potential threat from Russia in face of the Ukraine crisis and have been requesting for a stronger NATO presence in the region.

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Cover photo: Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves meeting with NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.