NATO eyes Baltic buildup of Soviet naval forces

NATO is closely watching an unexplained buildup of Soviet naval forces in the Baltic Sea, involving for the first time units from its four fleets. Western military sources said the Soviet Navy's largest landing ship, the 13,000-ton Ivan Rogov, which can carry at least a battalion of naval infantry with its supporting equipment, sailed through the Skagerrak channel into the Baltic Sunday, coming from the Bay of Biscay.

Four days ago, the 30,000-ton aircraft carrier Kiev, accompanied by two missile-firing frigates, moved into the Baltic for the first time.

The sources said the Soviet Union was expected to hold large-scale nava maneuvers, probably involving amphibious landing exercises. They did not think these were necessarily linked with the situation in Poland.

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