* NATO allies not planning for military option in Ukraine
* Russian tactics alarmed ex-Soviet republics in Baltics
* NATO must train local armies, police
BERLIN, Aug 17 If Russia tries to infiltrate
troops into a NATO country, even out of official military
uniform as it did before it annexed Ukraine's Crimea, NATO will
respond militarily, the alliance's top commander said in an
interview published on Sunday.
Soldiers wearing uniforms without national markings were
deployed when Russia entered Crimea from late February. Although
President Vladimir Putin initially denied involvement, he
admitted in April that Russian forces had been active there.
Kiev and Western governments are now waiting to see if
Moscow will intervene to support besieged rebels in Ukraine's
Russian-speaking east. Some defence experts have said Putin
might also look to the former Soviet republics in the Baltics
which have large ethnic Russian minorities, such as Estonia or
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied
Commander Europe, said although NATO had no plans to intervene
in non-NATO member Ukraine, NATO countries in eastern Europe
needed to start preparing for a possible threat from "little
green men" - referring to soldiers in unmarked uniforms.
"The most important work to prepare a nation for the problem
of 'little green men', or organising of Russian
(speaking)population, it happens first. It happens now,"
Breedlove said in an interview published online by German
newspaper Die Welt.
"How do we now train, organise, equip the police forces and
the military forces of (allied) nations to be able to deal with
this?" he said, according to a transcript of his remarks in
English provided by NATO.
"If we see these actions taking place in a NATO nation and
we are able to attribute them to an aggressor nation, that is
Article 5. Now, it is a military response," he said.
NATO's mutual defence clause says an attack on one member
state is considered an attack against the alliance as a whole.
The Ukraine crisis has dragged relations between Russia and
the West to their lowest point since the Cold War and set off a
round of trade restrictions that are hurting struggling
economies in both Russia and Europe.
NATO has taken a series of steps to reinforce its military
presence in eastern Europe since the crisis began. Longer term
measures are expected to be agreed at a NATO summit in Wales in
(Reporting by Michelle Martin in Berlin and Adrian Croft in
Brussels; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)