14:41 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Soldiers from the British Royal Marines Commando demonstrate city fighting techniques during the NATO Response Force exercise

    NATO Will Double Size of Response Forces to 30,000-40,000

    © AFP 2019 / CLAUS FISKER / SCANPIX DENMARK
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    NATO will increase its response forces upwards to 40,000 servicemen that will double the current size, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Stoltenberg said that that the addition of troops would double the current size and include Special Forces and rapid response teams, as well as marine and air components.

    At the September 2014 NATO summit in Wales, the bloc members agreed to establish a rotational NATO presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Some NATO allies, including the Baltic States and Poland, have requested a permanent military presence by the bloc.

    NATO members will create a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), dubbed "Spearhead," to have a deployable force available to respond to threats on short notice.

    In December, 2014, Stoltenberg said that NATO's high readiness Spearhead Force would become fully operational in 2016.

    Tensions between NATO and Russia intensified after the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014. Russia has repeatedly accused the bloc of building up its presence in Eastern Europe, saying that it is an aggressive move that could destabilize the region.

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    NATO, NATO Response Force, Jens Stoltenberg
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