NATO to bolster security of eastern allies worried over Ukraine

By REUTERS
April 16, 2014 21:44

 
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BRUSSELS - NATO said on Wednesday it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's annexation of Crimea but shied away from new permanent bases in the east as Poland wanted.

"You will see deployments at sea, in the air, on land to take place immediately, that means within days," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference after NATO ambassadors agreed the measures.

NATO has made clear it will not intervene militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, despite Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and a buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border.

It is focusing instead on boosting temporarily its presence in eastern Europe in a drive to reassure allies, such as the ex-Soviet Republics in the Baltics, that NATO would protect them if they ever faced Russian aggression.

The United States and other allies have already sent more planes and ships to the region but NATO ambassadors adopted further steps on Wednesday that will maintain a bigger NATO presence in eastern Europe until at least the end of this year.

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