NATO decides whether to deploy more troops close to Russia – media — Analysis
According to German media, the bloc will also send multilateral forces to three other Eastern European countries.
Additional NATO soldiers will be sent to Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, after the US-led military alliance formally confirms the decision next week, Germany’s dpa news agency said on Friday.
Although the deployment was being considered since late January, it was apparently met with resistance by some countries that were designated to host foreign troops.
According to German media, the agreement reached by the 30 members of the bloc on the new deployment was formalized next Wednesday when NATO defense ministers will approve a plan in writing. With the US and France expected to lead the supply of boots, the movement of troops could occur as quickly as possible in the spring.
Already thousands of NATO member soldiers are being hosted by the Baltic States and Poland in an effort to counter potential Russian aggression. It is also a way for the alliance to assure Eastern European neighbor that they will be protected. The ramp-up of military presence at Russia’s doorstep was justified by Washington and its allies, who for months claimed that Moscow could invade Ukraine soon.
Russia claims that it has no intention to invade Ukraine. All its military operations are under its sovereignty rights. Moscow accused NATO of escalating tensions. The organization was found to have ignored Russian concerns for its European expansion and East European development.
According to dpa, NATO’s plans also include possible repositioning of troops in other parts of Europe. Skeptics worry about Russia’s reaction to this news.
The agency suggested that Hungary’s public refusal to host extra troops on its soil in response to the crisis over Ukraine may be enough to keep Moscow restrained in its response.
There is significant resistance to the presence of foreign troops in Slovakia and this could cause problems. This week, the country’s national parliament took a highly-debated decision to grant US troops the use of two military bases in Slovakia for at least ten years in exchange for an investment of $100 million in the facilities’ infrastructure.
On the day that Parliament discussed the treaty, thousands protested it. Just 79 of 150 members of Slovakia’s top legislative body supported the deal, with many opposition MPs speaking in strong opposition.
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