A helicopter flies next to a ship near the crash site of a Russian military Tu-154 plane, which crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, December 26, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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NATO launched a new multinational force in Romania Monday to counter Russia along its eastern flank and to check a growing Russian presence in the Black Sea following the Kremlin's 2014 seizure of Crimea.The force will initially be built around a Romanian brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers, supported by troops from nine other NATO countries, and complementing a separate deployment of 900 U.S. troops who are already in place. Russia accuses NATO of trying to encircle it and threatening stability in Eastern Europe, which NATO denies.Under NATO's founding treaty, an attack on one ally is an attack on all, meaning all 28 NATO nations would be required to respond in the case of any potential Russian aggression.Romania pushed for bigger NATO naval presence on the Black Sea for more than a year, but found its neighbour Bulgaria wary of provoking Russia.
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