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Lithuania says rising number of Russian jets flying too close for comfort

VILNIUS (Reuters) - The number of Russian jets flying close enough to Baltic airspace this year to prompt NATO jets being scrambled has increased to around once a week, Lithuania said on Thursday, a concern for countries worried about an increasing assertiveness by Moscow. "The number of incidents of NATO jets being scrambled to identify Russian Federation aircraft has increased in January and February this year," minister of defense spokesman Vaidotas Linkus told Reuters by email.

Russia says wants answers on NATO troops in eastern Europe

By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it wanted answers from NATO on its activities in eastern Europe after the Western military alliance promised to beef up defenses for its eastern members. Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region last month has caused the deepest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War, leading the West to impose sanctions and sparking fear President Vladimir Putin has territorial designs beyond the Black Sea peninsula with its Russian-majority population.

Russian forces to quit Ukrainian border after exercises

Russian troops deployed close to the Ukrainian border will return to base after completing their exercises, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday. "After finishing training in the Rostov region (bordering Ukraine), one of the battalions that took part has already returned to base in the Samara region." "As they finish the tasks given to the participants in exercises, the other units will also return to their permanent bases," Lavrov said at a news conference with his Kazakh counterpart.

U.S. Marines aim to move ahead with new combat vehicle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Marine Corps aims to kick off a competition for a new wheeled amphibious combat vehicle in coming months, with a formal request for proposals likely to follow in fiscal year 2015, a Marine Corps spokesman said Wednesday. Manny Pacheco, spokesman for the Marine Corps office in charge of land systems said the goal was to buy around 200 wheeled vehicles priced at $3 million to $6 million each under the first phase of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program.

U.S. sending 175 Marines to Romania as part of Africa crisis team

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday it was bolstering the size of its Europe-based African crisis response force to 675 Marines, sending 175 new troops to a Romanian base near the Black Sea at a time of tensions over Russia's annexation of part of Ukraine.

Russia could achieve Ukraine incursion in 3-5 days

By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia has massed all the forces it needs on Ukraine's border if it were to decide to carry out an "incursion" into the country, and it could achieve its objective in three to five days, NATO's top military commander said on Wednesday.

NATO has 'grave concern' over Russia troop buildup

NATO warned on Wednesday that Russia's military presence on the flashpoint border with Ukraine was of "grave concern" and that Moscow's forces could reach military objectives in just days. Russian troops are poised to attack within 12 hours and could invade vast portions of Ukrainian territory in three to five days, General Philip Breedlove, NATO's top commander, told two American newspapers.

NATO has 'grave concern' over Russia troop buildup

NATO warned on Wednesday that Russia's military presence on the flashpoint border with Ukraine was of "grave concern" and that Moscow's forces could reach military objectives in just days. Russian troops are poised to attack within 12 hours and could invade vast portions of Ukrainian territory in three to five days, General Philip Breedlove, NATO's top commander, told two American newspapers.

NATO, Russia dispute over Crimea disrupts Afghan cooperation

By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO's decision to suspend cooperation with Russia will affect their cooperation in countering the flow of Afghan opium and keeping Afghan military helicopters flying, a NATO official said on Wednesday. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday that the alliance was suspending military and civilian cooperation with Moscow after its forces occupied Ukraine's Crimea region.

NATO in 'grave concern' over Russia troop buildup

NATO warned on Wednesday that Russia's military presence on the flashpoint border with Ukraine was of "grave concern" and that Moscow's forces could reach military objectives in just days. General Philip Breedlove, NATO's top commander, told the Wall Street Journal that Russian troops could invade vast portions of Ukrainian territory in three days to five days. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he shared that assessment and warned of a "a very massive Russian military buildup along the Ukrainian border" which NATO estimates at about 40,000 troops.
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