Mass Media: NATO Rapid Reaction Forces on High Alert

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The decision to strengthen the combat readiness of NATO troops was made last week due to the threat of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, writes Die Welt. Due to the movement of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine, NATO has increased the combat readiness of its Rapid Reaction Force (NATO Response Force, NRF) with a total strength of 40,000 troops. This was reported by the German newspaper Die Welt on Wednesday, December 22, with reference to knowledgeable diplomats in the alliance. According to them, since Monday, the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), part of the NRF structure, should be ready to deploy to the crisis area within five days instead of seven, as it was before. Also, other NRF units, including special forces and military logistics, were reportedly put on high alert. According to Die Welt, the corresponding decision was made by the North Atlantic Council last week. Germany to lead VJTF in 2023 The heads of state and governments of NATO countries decided to create the VJTF advance group at the summit in Wales in 2014 as a response to the changed security situation after the annexation of Crimea by Russia. It consists of about 6,400 troops from the United States, Great Britain, Poland, Spain, Italy and other member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance. NATO members command the VJTF on a rotating basis. Currently, the group is headed by Turkey, and in 2023 the command will pass to Germany. Troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border In October, reports started to arrive about the pulling of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine. The President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, said that up to 100 thousand Russian military personnel were stationed at the borders of his country. US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has suggested that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022. The United States and other Western countries have threatened the Russian Federation with the toughest sanctions in this case. Moscow constantly refutes information about the impending invasion of Ukraine and, for its part, accuses NATO of arming Kiev and conducting maneuvers near the borders of Russia. Last week, Russia demanded to exclude Ukraine from joining NATO, and the alliance to abandon military activities in countries neighboring Russia. The relevant provisions of the Foreign Ministry included in the draft security treaty, which was sent to Washington. The United States stated that a dialogue with Moscow on security guarantees is possible only in conditions of de-escalation at the borders of Ukraine and in coordination with European allies and partners. DW