BRUSSELS (AP) - NATO's chief said Monday the alliance will agree this week to send four multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland to boost their defenses against Russia.
Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, said alliance defense ministers will formally approve the deployment plan drafted by NATO military planners at a meeting that begins Tuesday in Brussels.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, four of NATO's members that feel most threatened by Russia, will each be reinforced by "a robust multinational battalion," Stoltenberg told a news conference.
"This will send a clear signal that NATO stands ready to defend any ally," the NATO chief said.
Stoltenberg said the battalions will be commanded by NATO military leaders, and deployed on a rotational basis rather than being based permanently in the host countries.
The United States, Britain and Germany have already committed to acting as so-called framework nations for three of the battalions. It was not immediately clear which NATO member country would agree to furnish the core forces for the fourth battalion.