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NATO opens military headquarters in Lithuania's Vilnius

NATO opens military headquarters in Lithuania's Vilnius

PanARMENIAN.Net - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization inaugurated a new command post in Vilnius, Lithuania on Thursday, September 3, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For first time, the new command posts put a permanent—but very small—alliance presence on the border of Russia, a move that has rankled Moscow but which NATO leaders hope will deter Vladimir Putin from stirring unrest.

The small headquarters will eventually grow to around 40 personnel, half from the host country and half from other alliance members. The units are unlikely to command forces, but instead will be charged with helping to prepare for military exercises and overcoming logistical hurdles.

For the alliance, the new headquarters are meant to create a NATO presence without violating its 1997 promise not to permanently station troops on Russia’s borders.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the new headquarters, formally known as NATO Force Integration Units, will improve the alliance’s ability to reinforce American and others’ training forces in Lithuania and the other Baltic states, he said.

Coupled with other measures like the new rapid-reaction spearhead force and stepped-up exercises, the new headquarters will help increase the collective defense of the alliance.

“All this together makes sure we have credible deterrence,” he said.

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