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Nato plan 'to defend Baltic states'

Nato has drawn up contingency plans for the defence of eastern Europe from Russian military aggression, leaked US diplomatic cables revealed.

British troops are among nine Nato divisions apparently earmarked for combat operations in the event of an attack against Poland or the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. UK warships would also take part, it was reported.

Secret military plans for the defence of the Baltic states were approved unanimously by Nato earlier this year, according to US cables obtained by WikiLeaks and studied by the Guardian.

The newspaper claimed that the first exercised under the new arrangements would take place in the Baltic early next year.

According to one cable, there are concerns in Washington that news of the plans would lead to "an unnecessary increase in Nato-Russia tensions".

The decision to develop contingency planning to protect the eastern European countries from Russia was disclosed in a cable signed by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

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