WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - A week before the September 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, a number of allies started to fear that the readiness action plan to increase the alliance's military presence along Russia’s border would be provocative, a Center for Strategic and International Studies representative told RIA Novosti.
“The allies have already fully anticipated a very strong Russian reaction,” Director of the Europe Program at CSIS Heather Conley said Wednesday during an event on the upcoming NATO summit.
“I’m sure this is what has caused some hesitancy in our allies to put forward a more robust presence, because they are very fearful about provoking Russia,” she added.
France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Germany, Poland, and Hungary have all expressed reluctance to back NATO’s new readiness strategy.
Ahead of the summit, outgoing Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced the deployment of rotating military capabilities along NATO’s Eastern and Baltic fronts. The program intends to improve the action readiness of the alliance with pre-positioning of supplies, equipment, preparation of infrastructure included bases and headquarters within host countries.
Rasmussen promised earlier on Wednesday "a more visible NATO presence in the east” in the future.
“What NATO is trying to say that Russia has demonstrated very ably, rapid military mobilization, and that is the area where [NATO] needs to be within its own alliance,” Conley said.
NATO’s Eastern front functions on a rotational basis will become permanent, according to Rasmussen's statements.
“The focus in Szczecin, in Poland, and multinational Corps Northeast will be both land, air and sea. It’s to look and engage into how NATO can be ready,” said Conley, who insisted that the steps taken were strictly defensive.
Poland’s city of Szczecin, which is located in the vicinity of the Baltic Sea, is one of the possible bases to host pre-positioned equipment for NATO troops. The city already hosts 200 soldiers from Germany, Denmark and Poland.