WARSAW, Poland – The Latest on the NATO summit (all times local):
Poland's President Andrzej Duda says that Britain could seek even stronger ties within NATO if it leaves the European Union — but avoids a breakup of the United Kingdom.
Duda was speaking alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hours before the alliance summit was to open in Warsaw on Friday.
Duda said that Britain's exit from the EU would do harm to the country if Scotland and Northern Ireland remained in the EU. Both of those regions voted to remain in the EU in the June 23 referendum.
"But if Britain left but remained whole, then, paradoxically, it would seek closer ties with other organizations and its role in NATO would increase," Duda said.
Germany's defense minister says NATO is right to deploy troops on its eastern frontiers to counter what she called a "completely unpredictable and aggressive Russia."
Ursula von der Leyen says the Baltic states want protection because Russia's annexation of Crimea shows that Moscow "doesn't respect borders."
She told German broadcaster ARD on Friday that NATO needs to maintain a dialogue with Russia from what she called a "position of strength."
Von der Leyen said "it's important that NATO deploys with such strength that it's clear nobody can see an advantage in attacking this military alliance." She spoke as heads of NATO member states were meeting in Poland, where relations with Russia will be among the top issues.
The NATO summit in Warsaw is being held in a district of Warsaw that Poles view as a symbol of Russian betrayal of their nation. It was in that district, Praga, which lies on the eastern bank of the Vistula River, that Red Army troops sat for 63 days throughout the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, a revolt against Nazi Germany, giving almost no substantial support to the Poles. The result was the near total destruction of Warsaw and the death of up to 200,000 civilians.