Despite high hopes in the US for improved relations with Russia, NATO continues its military buildup along the Russian border with no signs of slowing down, with the first handful of troops from Germany and Belgium trickling into the capital city of Vilnius, Lithuania.

 

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17 German officers and some 30 Belgians were all that arrived so far, bringing some of the first equipment for the battalion that is being set up. Ultimately, some 1,200 NATO troops will be sent to Lithuania, part of a “spearhead” force against Russia.

 

The deployments were initially presented as an effort to prevent a Russian invasion of the Baltic states, and in addition to Lithuania, troops will be deployed in Latvia, Estonia, and Poland in similar numbers. Russia has added forces to its exclave in Kaliningrad, in the same region, to counter the NATO deployments.

 

While no one realistically expects either side to overtly attack the other, despite all the hype about needed a deterrent force, the increased deployments are just raising tensions dramatically in the region, and increasing the risk that some small spark could erupt into a global war.