NATO Strengthens Up
NATO Strengthens Up: The defense ministers from all 28 NATO countries approved a plan on Wednesday to enhance the alliance’s military presence in Central and Eastern Europe, part of its expanding efforts to deter Russian aggression, according to NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg. The forces will rotate through the countries to conduct exercises, and NATO will also enlarge its infrastructure in the region so it can quickly respond to threats, Mr. Stoltenberg said. “This will be multinational, to make clear that an attack against one ally is an attack against all allies, and that the alliance as a whole will respond,” Mr. Stoltenberg said at a news conference at NATO headquarters here shortly after the agreement was reached.
Among the countries that NATO and the United States are looking to protect are Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and the Baltic States, according to administration officials. In recent months, Russia has scaled back its military efforts in eastern Ukraine, but troops remain there, and many other countries in the region fear what Mr. Putin may do next. At the same time, Mr. Putin has thrust the Russian military into the Syrian conflict, as his forces on the ground and in the air fight alongside forces backing President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
The crisis has threatened to tear the bloc apart as member countries re-establish border controls and struggle to mount a unified response. More than one million migrants and refugees arrived in the European Union last year, and even more could arrive this year.