**American and Russian personnel conducted disaster-relief drills just 150 miles apart in Europe’s southeastern Balkan region Thursday — a geopolitical face-off over a country the size of Connecticut.
The tiny nation of Montenegro has this week played host to NATO exercises aimed at preparing for flooding, chemical spills and unexploded bombs. The country — which has a smaller population than Boston — is currently in the process of joining NATO, something Russia sees as an unacceptable symbol of encroaching Westernization on its doorstep.**
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