NATO Mulls Permanent Presence in Eastern Europe
Gen Philip Breedlove, NATO's top military commander, said on Monday the alliance could deploy permanent troops in Eastern Europe due to the situation in Ukraine.
He was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying that the option will be put forward for discussion among NATO members.
US Air Force General Philip Breedlove made his comments during a news conference in Canadian capital Ottawa.
He added that NATO members needed to look at their responsiveness, their readiness and positioning of forces "to be able to address this new paradigm... demonstrated in Crimea and now on the eastern border of Ukraine".
Breedlove did not explicitly say whether the issue would be addressed at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales in early September.
Tensions between Russia and the West are further increasing over the situation in Ukraine, where Kiev authorities are conducting an anti-terrorist operation to end unrest in the south and east of the country.
NATO decided in April to boost defense along its eastern flank, in a move triggered by what alliance officials describe as a worrying Russian troops buildup at the border with Ukraine.
Russian Army Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov earlier expressed concern at the growing NATO presence in Poland, the Baltic countries and the Black Sea.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, for his part, said for Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Russia was now more an adversary than a partner to the alliance, thus reiterating comments his deputy made last week.
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