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Stoltenberg: NATO not planning to increase military presence in Baltics

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Source: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Scanpix

NATO is not planning on boosting its military presence in the Baltic countries, which have called for extra protection from their Russian neighbor, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

"Currently, we are not planning to increase our military presence in the region, but what we are planning is to strengthen our ability to reinforce if needed," Stoltenberg told reporters following talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian leaders are seeking additional U.S. aid to help ward off any Russian moves against them, urging their ally to send more troops and bolster air defense on the alliance's eastern flank.

"If there is a need, we need to have ready forces which can deploy very quickly," Stoltenberg added.

The issue is to be discussed at the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels this July, he added.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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