23:52 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Forces from 17 NATO and non-member partner countries will carry out joint maritime exercises in the Baltic region over the next two weeks, the US Navy said in a statement on Thursday

    NATO Launches Poland Drills for New ‘Very High Readiness' Joint Task Force

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    NATO's newest fighting force launched its first full military exercises Tuesday in Poland, where thousands of troops with heavy equipment took part in drills designed to test the outfit’s rapid response readiness.

    Around 2,100 soldiers from nine NATO states grouped in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) are taking part in the Noble Jump 2 exercises at the Zagan training range in northwestern Poland, Defense News reported.

    "This is the first full deployment of the new force," NATO spokesman, Polish Colonel Marek Pietrzak, told Agence France-Presse of the exercises, which last through June 19.

    A NATO summit last year agreed to create the VJTF as violence in Ukraine continued, which raised security concerns of alliance nations in Eastern Europe. The "spearhead force," as NATO describes it, is meant to give the rest of the service members in the NATO Response Force time to mobilize.

    "It is our unconditional priority to have NATO's eastern flank strengthened. I feel safe," Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Henryka Moscicka-Dendys said when asked by Military Times about the role of the exercises.

    The exercise began with German and Dutch troops arriving near the southwestern Polish city of Zielona Gora.

    In April, the VJTF took part in a mobilization exercise 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.

    NATO, military drills, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), Henryka Moscicka-Dendys, Marek Pietrzak, Ukraine, Poland, Europe, Eastern Europe
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