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NATO Plans 'Spearhead' Force In Eastern Europe

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance's leaders will be asked this week to approve the creation of a high-readiness force in Eastern Europe to help member nations defend themselves against threats.

Rasmussen said in Brussels on September 1 the proposed "spearhead" force could be comprised of several thousand troops contributed on a rotating basis by the 28 NATO countries.

Backed by air and naval assets, he said the force could be deployed on "very short notice."

Rasmussen stressed that NATO would not breach an agreement struck with Russia in 1997, limiting its presence in Eastern Europe.

The announcement comes ahead of a NATO summit in Wales starting on September 4 that is expected to be dominated by how the alliance should react to Russian actions in Ukraine.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa