US General: Troops Staying in Baltics Through 2015

Frederick Hodges
Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A top U.S. military commander in Europe says U.S. troops will remain in the three Baltic countries and Poland through next year or longer to "deter Russian aggression."

In an interview published Monday, Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, told the Baltic News Service that Russia was trying to intimidate its neighbors with military exercises near their borders and air space.

The U.S. has temporarily deployed hundreds of troops in NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in the wake of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.

Hodges, who was visiting Lithuania on Sunday, said U.S. forces had rotations planned through next year and would "be here for as long as necessary to assure all of our allies and to deter Russian aggression."

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