11:51 Apr. 7, 2016
Russia does not represent an "immediate threat" to Europe, Stoltenberg notes
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said at the Atlantic Council in Washington that Russia does not represent an "immediate threat" to Europe but that a bolstering of NATO's eastern flank will occur regardless.
His statements come in the lead up to a NATO summit in Warsaw this July.
"We have to set up a chain of new headquarters in the eastern part of our Alliance, boosting our ability to plan and exercise, and to reinforce if needed," Stoltenberg said.
"NATO is becoming more agile and better prepared," he said of NATO developments over the last 12 months.
"We are reinforcing our collective defence, the largest reinforcement since the end of the Cold War. NATO's Response Force is now three times bigger, with a brigade-sized high-readiness force at its core."
However, fielding questions from journalists, he argued that "NATO is not looking for a confrontation with Russia. We will avoid a new Cold War - we are counting on a dialogue with Russia."
Poland has been consistently pushing for a consolidation of NATO's presence in Central and Eastern Europe since the Russia-Ukrainian crisis erupted.