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20150903
NATO says new headquarters don’t violate promise not to permanently station troops on Russia’s borders

By Julian E. Barnes for the Wall Street Journal, Sep. 3, 2015

VILNIUS, Lithuania—The North Atlantic Treaty Organization established its first permanent outposts next to Russia on Thursday in a step to shore up defenses along the alliance’s eastern flank.

A small command post was inaugurated in Vilnius along with posts in five other NATO members from the former Soviet bloc. The move to build an alliance presence along the Russian border has rankled Moscow, but NATO leaders hope it will deter President Vladimir Putin from stirring unrest.

The Vilnius post 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.

The Russian ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, said they would feed “an artificially created confrontation” with Russia. He accused the alliance of fomenting tension and following “the logic of the Cold War.”

“It runs counter to the genuine interests of European and regional security,” he said................

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