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NATO ministers agree to expand rapid response force


02-06-2015 16:26 BJT

NATO has decided to strengthen its presence in eastern Europe and the Baltic region. On Thursday, defense ministers agreed to expand the size of its rapid response force and set up six command and control centers in response to the so-called Russian aggression in Ukraine and threat from extremist groups.

"If a crisis arises, they will ensure that national and NATO forces from across the alliance are able to act as one from the start. They will make rapid deployment easier, support planning for collective defence, and help coordinate training and exercises,"  said Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General.

The centers will be established in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, and the three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Stoltenberg also said that the number of NATO's rapid response force will increase from 13-thousand to 30-thousand.

A spearhead force of 5,000 troops will be established, which will be supported by air, sea and special forces. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Britain will lead the forming of the spearhead force and it would be available to deploy within a week in a crisis.

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