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NATO finalizes military build-up to counter Russia

By yahoo.com

NATO foreign ministers were on Thursday finalizing the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the two-day meeting would address “all the important issues” to prepare for a “landmark” summit in Poland in July.

There, NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states as part of a “deter and dialogue” strategy, meant to reassure allies they will not be left in the lurch in any repeat of the Ukraine crisis.

“We will discuss how NATO can do more to project stability… and at the same time address how NATO can continue to adapt to a more assertive Russia to find the right balance between defense and dialogue,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, attending the Brussels talks, said NATO was building a “robust” defensive posture on its eastern flank and urged member states to meet pledges to increase defense spending.

The alliance needs to “continue to strengthen our deterrence capabilities through a more robust forward presence,” he said.

“NATO is open to a political dialogue with Russia but we will refrain from business as usual until the Minsk commitments are fully implemented,” Kerry added.

Under the Minsk process, Moscow agreed to a ceasefire in Ukraine and to halt support for separatist pro-Russian rebels that have carved out an enclave in the east of the country.

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