Currently, NATO troops are present in this region on a rotational basis
NATO is considering a long-term military presence in Eastern Europe to strengthen its defense, Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
His statement was made amid continuing tensions over the build-up of the Russian military presence near Ukraine.
“We are exploring the possibility of long-term adjustments to our position, our presence in the eastern part of the alliance. A final decision on this issue has not yet been made, but the process within NATO is underway,” he told reporters in Brussels.
NATO defense ministers are expected to discuss the issue of reinforcements at the next meeting, which will be held on February 16-17.
Western countries have called on Moscow to withdraw troops from Ukraine’s borders, especially if Russia wants to see fewer deployments in Eastern European NATO countries,
“If Russia really wants less NATO near its borders, it gets the opposite,” Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, referring to NATO’s retaliatory decision to deploy combat groups in the eastern countries of the alliance after the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea in 2014.
Currently, NATO troops are in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis, which is considered a stable, but not a permanent presence.
According to officials, NATO deployments – from the Baltic States to the Black Sea – were deliberately small in order to deter, but not provoke further Russian military aggression.
Western officials mention Hungary and Slovakia as potential locations for NATO troops, although no decisions have been made yet.
In addition to the American troops already in Poland, about 1,700 more troops, mainly from the 82nd Airborne Division, are being transferred to the country from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, this week.