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SUPERPOWERS
NATO battle groups in Baltics now operational
by Richard Tomkins
(UPI) Aug 29, 2017


NATO's four multi-national battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland are now fully operational following a certification exercise of a Canadian-led battlegroup.

NATO said Monday that the Canadian-led battlegroup is based in Latvia and operates from contributions from Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain.

NATO leaders last year decided to enhance its presence in the alliance's eastern zone as part of a response to Russia's unilateral annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its military build-up in the Baltic region and beyond.

The presence of the battlegroups in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland underlines NATO's philosophy to Russia that an attack against one NATO country is an attack on all, NATO said.

The battlegroups number a total of 4,500 deployed troops. The group in Lithuania is lead by Germany, with participation by Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. Britain leads the battlegroup in Estonia with the participation of France, while the United States leads the group in Poland, with contributions by Romania and Britain.

NATO said it is also strengthening its multinational presence in the Black Sea region.

Its alliance-wide Response Force, used for quick deployments, has also tripled in size to 40,000 troops and established eight small headquarter units for training and reinforcements, NATO said.

SUPERPOWERS
Russia says massive Zapad-2017 drills 'purely defensive'
Moscow (AFP) Aug 29, 2017
Russia on Tuesday dismissed Western concerns over its military exercises with Belarus next month, calling them "purely defensive" and not directed against any specific enemy. "The Zapad-2017 exercises have an anti-terrorism focus as well as a purely defensive character," Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said at a press briefing. He slammed international media for "disseminating my ... read more

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