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Crossover: NATO's defence ministers meeting held in Brussels


06-15-2016 15:26 BJT

The United States, Germany and the UK have announced plans to spearhead a new NATO force next year positioned near the Russian border. In repsonse, the Kremlin has reviewed the combat readiness of the Russian military. From Brussels, we are now joined live by our correspondent Jack Barton.

Q1. So what exactly have the US, Germany and the UK agreed on?

Q2. We understand that cyberwarfare was also a key talking point. What more can you tell us about that?

Three of NATO's biggest military powers have agreed to each command battalions to be stationed in three Baltic countries and Poland.

Canada has been touted as a possible leader of a fourth battalion. The plan is to counter any Russian show of force similar to that deployed in Crimea two years ago.

"That should send a very strong signal of our determination to defend the Baltic states and Poland in the face of continued Russian aggression," said Michael Fallon, British defense secretary.

The deployment of about 4,000 troops backed by rapid reaction forces represents NATO's biggest military build-up in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin responded by ordering snap checks on combat readiness across his armed forces.

The Kremlin had already complained that the deployment of four battalions breaks a long held agreement with Washington not to station forces near its border.

NATO says that because the battalions will be rotated every six to nine months they would not constitute a permanent deployment.

"We don't seek confrontation with Russia, we don't want a new cold war, we will continue to strive for a more cooperative relationship with Russia and especially when tensions are as high as now I think it's important that it's important to keep channels for political dialogue open," said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general.

The latest deployments are part of a broader NATO deterrent force to be approved in Warsaw next month.

It includes storing equipment ready for an attack and a highly mobile "spearhead" group backed by NATO's 40,000-strong rapid reaction force.

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