NATO to boost naval presence in Black Sea

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, second right, speaks with Georgia's Defense Minister Levan Izoria, left, during a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday told NATO ministers that the alliance is "a fundamental bedrock for the United States" while at the same time demanding an increased financial commitment from the 27 other alliance members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, right, speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday told NATO ministers that the alliance is "a fundamental bedrock for the United States" while at the same time demanding an increased financial commitment from the 27 other alliance members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, right, speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, and British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon, left, during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday told NATO ministers that the alliance is "a fundamental bedrock for the United States" while at the same time demanding an increased financial commitment from the 27 other alliance members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS — NATO defense ministers have decided to beef up the military alliance's naval presence in the Black Sea in response to an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that NATO will hold more war games and training in the strategically important sea, which borders allies Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania, but also Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia's naval fleet based at Sevastopol in Crimea has been a major concern for NATO.

Stoltenberg told reporters after chairing the talks in Brussels that the move "will be measured, it will be defensive, and it will in no way aim at provoking any conflict or escalating tensions."

Several NATO allies are already providing troops to 3,000-5,000-strong land force in Romania.

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