World Bulletin / News Desk
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will visit a US-led NATO battalion in Poland on Friday amid concern on the alliance's eastern flank over a huge Russian military exercise in neighbouring Belarus next month.
The multinational battalion in Orzysz is one of four deployed by NATO this spring to Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, aimed at reassuring its easternmost allies unsettled by Russia's frequent military exercises near the region in the wake of its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Speaking in Washington this month, Stoltenberg said it was "correct to say that NATO's relationship with Russia is more difficult than it has been any time since the end of the Cold War."
General Ben Hodges, commander of US ground forces in Europe, said last week that "Poland has become for the United States Army the centre of gravity for everything that we're doing in terms of deterrence" regarding Russia.
The Orzysz base lies about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Russia's Kaliningrad exclave and a stone's throw from the Suwalki Gap, a strategically important land corridor critical to the security of the Baltic states.
The gap, a 65-kilometre stretch of border with Lithuania, is sandwiched between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus.
Military strategists say it is the Achilles' heel of NATO's eastern flank since its capture would amputate the alliance's three Baltic members and so shatter its credibility.World Bulletin / News DeskGüncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2017, 13:51