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U.S., NATO Watch Putin and Baltics

Politico reports: Often criticized for being naïve and complacent about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions, the Obama administration and its European allies are intensifying their planning and training for a potential conflict on NATO’s eastern flank, hoping to send the strongest possible message about Russian aggression.”  

“Deterring Putin was a central theme at a conference here hosted by the U.S. Army, attended by generals from 38 European countries. Officials described escalating NATO activity — including a massive training exercise now underway and talk of U.S. troop increases — in terms reminiscent of the 1980s, when the alliance stared down Soviet-made Warsaw Pact tanks in central Europe. Tan and brown desert camouflage is out; forest greens are in.  

“The NATO exercise, named Trident Juncture, is the largest in more than a decade; it began in mid-October and wraps up late next week. It involves 36,000 troops responding to the invasion of a fictitious region called Ceresia by a hostile neighbor employing so-called hybrid guerrilla warfare tactics like those Putin has adopted in Ukraine. Operating in Spain, Portugal, Italy and surrounding Atlantic waters, the counter-force includes submarines, fighter jets and U.S. Marines storming beaches with landing craft.

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