NATO mulls longer-term military posture in eastern Europe, Stoltenberg says



NATO is considering a longer-term military posture in eastern Europe to strengthen its defenses, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, as tensions remained high over Russia's military build-up near Ukraine.

"We are considering more longer-term adjustments to our posture, our presence in the eastern part of the alliance. No final decision has been made on that but there is a process now going on within NATO", Stoltenberg said.

Western governments have urged Moscow to withdraw troops from Ukraine's borders, especially if Russia wants to see fewer deployments in eastern NATO allied states.

"If Russia really wants less NATO close to the borders, they get the opposite," Stoltenberg said at a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, referring to NATO's response to deploy battlegroups on its eastern territory following Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

NATO defense ministers are expected to discuss reinforcements at their next meeting on February 16-17. Currently it has troops rotating in and out of eastern Europe.