Ministry of Defense: NATO policy in Baltics Russia's own fault

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The increased NATO military presence in the Baltics is a reaction to Russia's action, Ministry of Defense State Secretary Jānis Sārts told Latvian Radio in an interview Friday morning. 

Sārts said Russia's Pskov division is being armed near the Latvian border, and a helicopter base has been rebuilt 30 kilometers from the Latvian border. Russia's armament and foreign policy cannot slip by unnoticed, he said.

"That's why the presence of a comparatively small NATO force is entirely justified," said Sārts. 

He also urged Russia not to take any risks as NATO's military force is ten times larger than Russia's.

Describing western attitudes in the recent NATO summit, Sārts said that more and more countries start to realize that the Western-Russian confrontation is not going away any time soon.

He also added that NATO is set to triple its forces in the Baltics, from installing anti-air defenses and emergency systems to increasing personnel. However, Latvia on its part should raise defense spending to 2% of GDP, a task the government has said it will complete by 2018.

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