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Citing 'Russian Aggression,' NATO Urges Members to Contribute More Money

© Flickr / Michigan National Guard / US Paladin M109A6 artillery system
US Paladin M109A6 artillery system - Sputnik International
As NATO dramatically increases its presence in Eastern Europe, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter are pushing alliance members to provide more money to the cause, repeatedly citing consistently-debunked claims of “Russian aggression.”

"There has never been such an amassing of hostile military force on Russia’s Western frontiers since June 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, and that’s the way the Russians see it," Professor Stephen F. Cohen said in a recent interview with The John Batchelor Show.

Soldiers from different NATO countries attend a military exercise 'Iron Sword 2014', at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade some 60km.(38 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 - Sputnik International
US Official: Russia Could Overrun Reinforced NATO Forces Within 60 Hours

This massive buildup requires money, and officials are worried that some aren’t paying enough to sustain NATO’s increasingly aggressive appetite.

"For the first time in many years, in 2015 we registered a small increase in defense spending amongst European allies and Canada," Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday.

"And our estimates for 2016 indicate a further increase of 1.5% in real terms this year. This is progress. But I will call on allies to keep up the momentum, and to do more."

Soldiers park their amphibious vehicles on a ship as they participate in a massive amphibious landing during NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015 that are to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - Sputnik International
'Losing Autonomy': NATO Buildup Against Russia Creates Risks for Europe

Stoltenberg has been working with Carter to rebalance the alliance’s budget. The US currently provides 75% of the NATO budget, a dramatic increase from 50% in 2001. To convince the other 27 alliance members to increase their own contributions, the US and NATO have routinely trotted out the red herring of a Russian threat.

The alliance has also pushed to add new members. Sweden has considered membership and Finland may purchase its own fleet of F-35s, Lockheed Martin’s beleaguered next-generation fighter jet.

But NATO’s current members do not seem entirely convinced by the argument.

A Polish soldier stands near US and Poland's national flags and a NATO flag in Swidwin, northern west Poland, April 23, 2014 - Sputnik International
US 'Having Hard Time' Forcing EU to Deploy Troops Near Russian Borders

"Yesterday there was a protest in Tallinn, a picket in front of the Polish embassy against the expansion of NATO and the intervention of NATO structures in the activities of public organizations. The picket was sabotaged: the police found the initiator and detained him," Estonian activist Dmitry Linter told Russian newspaper Vzglyad on Monday.

"Where there seems to be a consensus, a fierce debate is actually going on behind closed doors. According to diplomats, the Americans are having a hard time forcing European countries to strengthen NATO troops in the east," German magazine Focus Online reported.

Whether alliance members agree to boost their defense budgets, NATO intends to move forward with new deployments. Four multinational battalions will be placed in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.

These will be financially supported primarily by the US, UK, and Germany.

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