UK Baltic Deployment Amid Fears Over Russia
Rahvusvahelised uudised 12 Feb 2016  EWR
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Britain to contribute a large contingent of troops to a new NATO force bordering Russia.

Transitions Online 10 February 2016
The UK is to provide soldiers to a force of 6,500 troops who will be stationed on a rotational basis in six countries adjoining Russia.

In addition, the UK is to deploy five extra ships to the Baltic, The Guardian reported.

The paper says that a final decision on the troop deployment will be taken at a NATO summit in Poland later this year.

Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have all been agitating for Britain, the US and Germany to provide more troops on the ground as a deterrent to Russia, The Guardian says.

It reports NATO as saying the naval and troop deployments are all part of a more muscular approach to prevent Russia from repeating the kind of aggression it carried out in Ukraine.

NATO has an agreement with Moscow not to position troops permanently along the Russian border, The Guardian says, but it intends to by-pass this by deploying troops in eastern Europe on a rotational basis.

News of the British deployment come as two leading think-tanks have warned about Russia's growing military power.

The Kremlin dominated extra international defense spending last year, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says, with a defense budget jumping by 23% last year compared to 2014.

Much of the new investment has been spent on a “revolutionary” new tank, the T-14 Armata, which may outclass its Western rivals, The Daily Telegraph reports the Institute as saying.

Another report released earlier this month by the respected Rand US military think tank says that Russian military forces will swiftly defeat NATO and the US in less than three days should a war break out in the Baltic region.

In other developments:

• The US has quadrupled its budget for forces in Europe to $3.4bn and has announced that half of this will be spent on a “heavy brigade” armor and artillery in western Europe, The Independent reports

• NATO has been accused of “shooting itself in the foot” by pursuing a “confrontational policy” towards Russia, Tass reported Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko as saying.

• Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has accused Russia of “not understanding NATO” and failing to realize that it has no “offensive doctrine,” Polish Radio quoted him as saying.

Compiled by Piers Lawson
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