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NATO leaders agree on European rapid-response force

The force will be organized to counter Russian aggression in Europe.

By
Ed Adamczyk
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meets with Charles, the Prince of Wales at the Wales NATO summit on September 4, 2014. (NATO/UPI)
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meets with Charles, the Prince of Wales at the Wales NATO summit on September 4, 2014. (NATO/UPI)

NEWPORT, Wales, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The NATO summit in Newport, Wales announced the formation of a rapid response force Friday, stationed in Eastern Europe, to quickly deal with potential threats.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced the group's command headquarters and equipment would be within Eastern Europe, presumably in a former Soviet Union or Soviet Bloc country.

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"This decision sends a clear message: NATO protects all allies at all times. If you threaten one ally, you will face the whole alliance," Rasmussen said, reinforcing the central tenet of the pact. "NATO remains strong, ready and response for future challenges wherever they may come."

The agreement on the "spearhead" force of about 4,000 troops was announced on the second day of the meeting, and was driven by Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine. NATO countries sharing borders with Russia have openly expressed concern over Russian intervention, and the announced plan is designed in part to afford those countries a greater sense of security.

Russian officials this week said any increase in NATO activity near its border would be regarded as a provocation.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country could contribute 3,500 troops to the effort.

Edward Lucas, an editor at the London news magazine The Economist, described the proposed NATO unit as "pre-authorized, a bit like a pre-authorized credit card, so that if there is a crisis, it can be deployed very quickly by NATO military commanders."

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