Monday June 11, 2016 Update: NATO’s Eastern Pivot To Expand

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*Note: Again, this update is shorter than usual due to time constraints this morning*

At the NATO Summit in Warsaw over the weekend, Afghanistan, ISIS and the immigration influx from Syria and North Africa received a fair amount of interest and attention. As expected, though, most of the summit revolved around Russia and the growing threat in the east.  The alliance took a number of steps over the weekend to shore up its defenses in the east while projecting an image of alliance unity in the face of unpredictable and aggressive Russian actions and behavior. A sizable portion of the steps will have to do with moving military forces closer to the border with Russia.

Plans to create and deploy four multinational battalions to Eastern Europe have been formalized and approved. The United States will take the lead by establishing a battalion in Poland as part of the four-battalion plan. Canada, England and Germany have also pledged troops. The US also plans to create a brigade headquarters in Poland to support the planned annual rotation of a US armored brigade beginning in 2017.

NATO also issued a unified condemnation against Russia for its involvement in the Donbass War and annexation of Crimea. Words were not the only ammunition being used against Russia’s reckless actions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was in Warsaw and met with NATO leaders. Although not a NATO member, the groundwork for Ukraine to join is being laid. A comprehensive assistance package will be offered to Kiev in order to help it make the political reforms and military modernization necessary for NATO membership.

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