NATO is said to be preparing a military force of up to 300,000 personnel, capable of being deployed within just two months, in response to growing tensions between the West and Russia.
While Nato cut its defence budget and military investment since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been bolstering its military capabilities, holding parades involving more than 100,000 troops each year.
“We have seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up over many years; tripling defence spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbours.
He told the Times: “We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among Nato allies and that is exactly the reason why Nato is responding. We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.”
Adam Thomson, the outgoing permanent representative to Nato, estimates that at present, it would take the military alliance 180 days to deploy a force of 300,000, and that speeding up this rate is of top importance.
The measures come in response to Russia flexing its military might abroad, allegedly conducting cyber attacks on Washington and holding nuclear war drills at home.
Last week, Moscow was seen as deliberately antagonising Nato by sending hundreds of paratroopers to a Serbian airbase despite Nato holding disaster relief exercises just 150 miles away in Montenegro.
Putin held military drills just 150 miles from Nato exercises in Montenegro last week Putin’s decision to hold military drills so close to Nato’s emergency exercises in Montenegro – which went ahead despite Moscow’s drills – was seen as a brazen stand-off between both sides.
Meanwhile, Russian authorities have been accused of attempting to pervert the democratic process of the US presidential election by hacking into Democrat emails and sharing findings with vigilante publishers such as WikiLeaks and DC Leaks.
Jens Stoltenberg, head of Nato, warns of the threat Russia poses
In a TV advert a few weeks ago, Putin advised citizens to prepare themselves with gas masks and find out the location of their nearest bomb shelters.
The Russian president also sparked concern when he called for Russian nationals to return home for their own safety.
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