Faced with an ever-more belligerent and unpredictable Russia, NATO allies are advancing with plans to deploy thousands of troops and military equipment to the Baltics and Poland.

In recent weeks alone, Russia has moved battleships toward the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, shifted nuclear-capable missile-launchers into its Kaliningrad enclave neighboring Poland and continued flying bombers down the western European coast.

NATO defense ministers, ending two days of talks in Brussels on Thursday, have been fleshing out contributions to an advance force agreed in July that will be stationed near Russia's borders.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said "we are responding in a measured and responsible way because we are not seeking a new Cold War. We want to keep tensions as low as possible."