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Iran Press TV

Britain to send troops for NATO drills in Poland

Iran Press TV

Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:28AM GMT

Britain has decided to deploy 1,350 military personnel and more than 350 vehicles to Poland for NATO war games amid the crisis in Ukraine.

British Defense Minister Michael Fallon made the announcement during a visit together with Foreign Minister Philip Hammond to the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Monday.

The deployment would be the largest contribution by London to drills in Eastern Europe in six years.

The war games, dubbed "Black Eagle," and scheduled for October is part of a series of NATO drills and reinforcements in the region amid the crisis in Ukraine.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to respond to NATO's expansion toward Russia's borders, saying the Western military alliance is "blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas."

Putin added that the NATO military buildup is not just for defense as the Western alliance claims, but is "an offensive weapon" and "element of the US offensive system deployed outside the mainland."

The Western military alliance has held a number of war games in Eastern Europe after the then Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum in March.

NATO has also reinforced its air patrol over the Baltic region, with radar-equipped aircraft making regular flights over the territories of Poland and Romania.

Last month, the Western military alliance held military drills near Russia's western border. Nearly 5,000 troops and 800 military vehicles from 10 NATO member states, including the US, Britain and Canada, participated in the war games near the Latvian capital, Riga.

CAH/HJL



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