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NATO troops to be deployed at Suwałki Gap: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 15.06.2016 12:34
Some 3,200 NATO troops will be deployed in the Baltic region and along the Suwałki Gap in north-eastern Poland as early as 2017, the Financial Times has reported.
NATO troops exercising in Poland for Anakonda. Photo: PAP/Tytus ŻmijewskiNATO troops exercising in Poland for Anakonda. Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski

The deployment of four battlegroups marks the “biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the cold war”, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg was quoted by the daily as saying.

“This sends a clear message: if any of our allies is attacked, the whole alliance will respond as one.”

The plan was discussed by NATO defence ministers in recent days in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and the region.

Each of the four battlegroups will consist of a maximum of 800 troops.

Polish deputy Defence Minister Tomasz Szatkowski was quoted by the daily as saying that the new forces could be deployed in early 2017.

The Suwałki Gap is a sliver of border with Lithuania wedged between Russian ally Belarus and the Russian Kaliningrad oblast, and is considered to be the Achilles heel of Polish defence.

In May, Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said that: “[The Baltic countries’] ability to slow down the violence so as to allow NATO forces supported by the United States and other countries to reach the area would be sufficient, as long as we can keep the Suwałki Gap. […] It is our greatest strength as well as our weakness.” (rg)

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