Nato boosts presence in eastern Europe

Nato plans to boost its military presence in eastern Europe as of 2017. Alliance defence ministers discussed the details of the plan at a meeting in Brussels this week. A total of 4,000 troops are to be stationed in the Baltic states and Poland. For some commentators this is a clever preemptive move in the context of Russian aggression. Others fear an escalation in the conflict with Moscow.

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Upsala Nya Tidning (SE) /

Trap for agressive Russia

Upsala Nya Tidning endorses the military alliance's move to boost its troops in eastern Europe:

“It is vital for Europe to take steps to counter Russian aggression. The four battalions now deployed under the leadership of the US, Canada, Germany and Britain will have no more than 4,000 troops. But the issue is not numbers in this case, but the fact that the battalions are there at all. It's a trap of sorts: every conceivable Russian action will force a military confrontation with Nato, which has the capacity to react much more powerfully. According to the declaration this also applies in cases of 'little green men' of unknown nationality turning up - as with the annexation of Crimea.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Does Putin want peace at all?

In all its efforts to cooperate peacefully with Russia the West should not be naive Jyllands-Posten cautions:

“Of course the West should try to maintain a dialogue, just like in the days of the Cold War. At the same time it's important to ramp up the armed forces so that we are ready in case Russia continues its advance. ... Russia is a threat to Denmark, to the rest of the West, and to eastern Europe. In a quiet moment Putin should have a think about the fact that almost all the bad things that have happened to his nation came from the Russians or the Soviets. The Second World War is the one exception; but even here, it's important to remember that the former dictator, Stalin, entered into a pact with Hitler before reality took him by surprise. The West wants peace - does Putin?”

Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Military build-up speaks of Nato's incompetence

Nato's measures increase the likelihood of a military confrontation with Russia, taz criticises:

“Russia's unlawful annexation of Crimea and its ongoing hybrid warfare in eastern Ukraine should neither be portrayed as a legitimate secession nor trivialised or even justified by pointing to violations of international law committed by the West. But we must recognise that the actions of Putin's government are aimed at achieving specific goals: securing the Russian marine base in Sevastopol and destabilising Ukraine, thus thwarting its ambitions to join the EU or Nato in the foreseeable future. … The military build-up is a shocking sign of the inability or unwillingness of Nato member states, which have the upper hand both militarily and economically, to take decisive steps towards a détente in a conflict that has been escalating dangerously for the last three years - steps that would make it easier for Putin's government to do the same.”