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    Media: NATO seen approving expansion of deployments on eastern flank

    Defense ministers are likely to approve bilateral deployments to the Baltic States and Poland

    Baku. 8 February. REPORT.AZ/ The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is poised to approve an expansion of its troop deployments on the alliance's eastern flank next week, U.S. and alliance officials said.

    Report informs citing the foreign media, NATO officials in Brussels met Friday to pull together a proposal for expanding the NATO mission in Eastern Europe, a measure expected to be approved by defense ministers at a meeting in Brussels next week.

    Officials said the size of the force or precise contributions won't be determined until later this year. But that defense ministers are likely to approve a NATO mission that would oversee and enlarge what are currently bilateral deployments to the Baltic States and Poland.

    Having the NATO flag flying over even a small troop presence in the East will have an important deterrent effect, and is a key step to bolstering alliance defenses, according to NATO officials.

    The announcement this week by the U.S. that it plans to spend an additional $3.4 billion on European defense, money that would pay for a persistent presence of an additional 3,000 forces in Europe, was timed in large measure to spur forward the alliance's discussions on reinforcing the east.

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