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NATO troops in Eastern Europe could be permanent, U.S. general says

NATO will consider permanent troop installations at September summit.

By Ed Adamczyk
NATO troops in Eastern Europe could be permanent, U.S. general says
Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, returns a salute from General Philip M. Breedlove, Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe, after landing at Ramstein Air Base, in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, March 11, 2013. Hagel finished his first trip as the 24th Secretary of Defense by stopping at the air base to meet with Breedlove and to transload to an Air Force E-4B. UPI/Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/DOD | License Photo

OTTAWA , May 7 (UPI) -- NATO will consider permanently stationing troops in Eastern Europe as a result of the crises in Crimea and Ukraine, its top military commander said.

Speaking in Ottawa, Canada, Tuesday, Gen. Philip Breedlove, a U.S. Army general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said the issue would be discussed at a NATO summit in September.

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Commanders, defense ministers and foreign ministers must consider if the 28-member military alliance has the correct footprint in Europe, Breedlove said, noting Russia’s “annexations of Crimea changes that dynamic. The paradigm has changed in the current situation. Russia is not acting as a partner.” After Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, a number of short-term military rotations have been arranged in Eastern Europe, but they are scheduled to conclude by the end of 2014.

Breedlove stressed that NATO’s recent steps have thus far supported eastern members of the alliance, and are "easily discerned as being defensive in nature. This is about assuring our allies, not provoking Russia.”

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