Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, promising to “stand with the Ukrainian people” in his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported plans to step up US military involvement in the region, with increased aid to Poland and the Baltic States.
Hagel said the involvement would include expanded aviation training in Poland and increasing US involvement in “air policing missions” over the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
All of these nations are NATO members, and several have stepped up calls for NATO action in retaliation for Russia’s deployments in Crimea, aimed at backing Crimean secession from the Ukraine.
Poland in particular has been calling for “article 4” consultations, claiming their own security is threatened by the deployment in Crimea, which is quite some distance from the Polish border.
NATO has reassured the nations of support in the extremely unlikely event of Russian attack, though the whole matter seems more rhetoric than anything, since Russia has shown no inclination toward military operations against them or any other NATO states.
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