VILNIUS, Lithuania – The first of a 1,200-strong NATO force have arrived in Lithuania close to a key Russian Baltic Sea exclave amid growing fears on security in the region.
The more than 100 Belgian army troops and five dozen military vehicles sailed to Klaipeda, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, which has a navy base and long-range missile systems.
The Belgians will join German, Dutch, and Norwegian troops at the Rukla base in central Lithuania.
At last year's NATO summit in Warsaw, the alliance decided to deploy forces in the countries bordering Russia and Belarus. There is a fear in the Baltic countries and Poland that the former Soviet republics could be next, after Russia displayed its might in Georgia and Ukraine.