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 Pentagon chief Mattis says Russia's military buildup destabilises Baltic region

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday said the United States and NATO are prepared to deploy any capabilities necessary to help beef up air defence systems in the Baltic region.

As reported by Censor.NET citing AFP via YahooNews, Mattis's remarks come amid heightened tensions with Russia, which is preparing for massive military exercises in its western military region in September, and has deployed a missile system in neighbouring Kaliningrad.

"Any buildup of Russian combat power in an area where they know, and we all know, they are not threatened by anything that we are doing... is simply destabilising," Mattis said at a press conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

Read more: NATO launches massive two-week exercise in Estonia

He however refused to discuss whether Vilnius had requested a permanent Patriot missile deployment.

"We will make those decisions in consultation with the Lithuania government," he said.

The Patriot is a mobile air defence system made by Raytheon designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, low-flying cruise missiles and aircraft.

Read more: Stoltenberg excludes participation of NATO in Syrian conflict

"Everyone knows this is not an offensive capability," Mattis said when asked about regional air defences.

"We will deploy whatever capability is necessary here," Mattis added.
 
 
 
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