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NATO Agrees To Boost Defenses In Eastern Europe

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said February 5 that the alliance has agreed to immediately set up six command posts in eastern Europe and establish a spearhead force of 5,000 troops in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg, speaking at a news conference in Brussels after a meeting of NATO defense ministers, said France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Britain agreed to take the lead in forming the spearhead force.

The force would be available to deploy within two to seven days in a crisis, Stoltenberg said.

"We have decided on the immediate establishment of the first six multinational command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania," he said.

The spearhead force will be backed up by two more brigades in order to keep reinforcements coming in a crisis.

In total, the NATO response force will be increased to 30,000 troops from the current number of 13,000.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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