Hundreds of NATO troops with heavy equipment began a military exercise in Poland on Tuesday, testing the alliance’s rapid response readiness in the face of new security challenges on its eastern flank.
The so-called spearhead force was agreed upon at a NATO summit last year in reaction to Russia’s role in the separatist fighting in Ukraine which has raised security concerns in other nearby nations that were once under Moscow’s dominance.
“It is our unconditional priority to have NATO’s eastern flank strengthened,” Deputy Foreign Minister Henryka Moscicka-Dendys said when asked about the role of the Noble Jump exercises. “I feel safe.
“The deployment exercise began with German and Dutch troops arriving near the southwestern Polish city of Zielona Gora to test the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. It will soon move to a test range in nearby Zagan, where more than 2,000 troops will train.
A mobilization exercise was held in April in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The current exercise tests deployment procedures by road, rail and air.
Allied Shield exercises will be held this summer in the region and will involve 14,000 troops from 19 NATO members and three partner nations.
A multinational naval exercise opened on the Baltic Sea last week.
Source: Yahoo News
Russia has refused to sign off on the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s annual report because the document lists a nuclear reactor near Crimea’s Sevastopol as being in Ukraine, two diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters on Monday.
Russia annexed Crimea last year, but most countries still consider it part of Ukraine. Monday’s move by Russia is unlikely to block the report, but raises serious questions about jurisdiction in the contested area.
Ukraine protested against Russia’s move at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s quarterly board of governors meeting, one Western diplomat said.
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From Reuters UK:
Britain raised its commitment to NATO’s new rapid response force on Monday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama pressed Prime Minister David Cameron over defence spending.
Surprised by the speed of Russia’s military intervention in Crimea last year, NATO leaders have approved wide-ranging plans to boost the alliance’s defences in eastern Europe and create a new “spearhead” rapid reaction force with 5,000 soldiers.
British Defence Minister Michael Fallon said Britain would contribute an extra 500 troops to the very high-readiness joint task force from 2016, taking its total to 3,000, before it takes on leadership of the force the following year.
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