Nato will establish rapid reaction force to counter perceived threat of Russian aggression
Nato declared on Thursday it will set up six new command posts on its eastern borders and create a 5,000-strong rapid reaction force in an effort to show resolve and solidarity in the face of what the alliance brands Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Announcing the new force in Brussels on Thursday, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said it was “the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the cold war.”
Some elements of the new force will be able to deploy to a flash point with 48-hours notice, Stoltenberg said, with the rest being able to move in a week, much faster than current Nato response times. It will be supported by air and sea forces as well as special operations units, and two more land brigades on standby in the event of a major crisis. Altogether, 30,000 Nato troops will be assigned to bolster the alliance’s eastern defences.
New Nato command posts will immediately be set up in six eastern members states – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria – who have been clamouring for a permanent alliance presence on their soil since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine. They will house about 40 to 60 officers as serve as command and control units, which would help coordinate any deployment of the spearhead force, as well as training.