The first wave of four new NATO battalions has arrived at a military base in Eastern Europe close to Russia’s border, with the alliance claiming it’s driven to deter alleged ‘Russian aggression’ in the region.
Several hundred soldiers from Germany arrived at the Rukla military base in Lithuania on Tuesday. Expected to be deployed just some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Russian border, the German troops are reported to be heading up the NATO force in the country, with Belgian, Dutch and French soldiers scheduled to join them later.
The battalion will reach its full strength of some 1,200 troops in the spring, AFP reported.
Later this year, three other battalions led by Britain, Canada, and the US will also be deployed to Estonia, Latvia, and Poland respectively to beef up smaller rotating contingents of American troops in the region. There are no end dates for their stay, with the contingents said to be rotating every six months, according to Reuters.