: :inin Kyiv (EET)

NATO`s Baltic deterrent force to be in place by May 2017 – WSJ

The new allied deterrent force for the Baltic region will be in place by May 2017, with some units arriving earlier, the head of the Western alliance`s military committee said Sunday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Military leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, gathering in Split, Croatia, last weekend, discussed the deployment of the force of up to 4,000 personnel, its rules of engagement, and its command and control, according to WSJ. 

Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel, who leads the NATO military committee, said the battle groups will be arriving at different times in the first half of 2017. The U.S. force, of about 1,000 soldiers, will come from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment based in Vilseck, Germany, and is due to arrive in Poland by April, U.S. officials said, according to the report.

In its July summit in Warsaw, NATO approved a new multinational force to be stationed in Poland and the Baltic states, aimed at deterring Russian aggression in the region. Eastern European allies have been worried about the possibility of a rising threat from Russia since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

While Gen. Pavel wouldn`t outline the rules, he said they would be altered from those the current international forces in the region are operating under, designed to allow the new NATO forces to move from a peacetime footing to a crisis situation rapidly, WSJ wrote. 

Some of the troops participating in the deterrent force—both from the NATO contributing countries and the host nations—have been training at the U.S. Army facility in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Forces have been dusting off Cold War-era knowledge about defenses, as well as studying the electronic warfare techniques used by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine.

NATO military leaders will present proposals for the command of the new units at a gathering of alliance defense ministers in October, Gen. Pavel said.


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