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UK to send 1,000 troops and Typhoon jets to Baltic states

The UK is to send up to 1,000 troops to a high readiness force and deploy four RAF Typhoon jets for air policing in the Baltic States to boost NATO’s collective security, the Defence Secretary has announced.

RAF Eurofighter Typhoon Credit: Geoffrey Lee/RAF/MoD Crown copyright/PA Wire

Michael Fallon says the UK will be the lead nation in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017 and then on rotation thereafter. This will see the UK contributing manpower to two regional headquarters in Poland and Romania and to force integration units in the three Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

The UK will also send four RAF Typhoon jets to support the NATO Baltic Air policing mission again in 2015.

NATO’s credibility in the face of the security challenges we face depends on everyone playing their part to implement the decisions taken at Wales last year.

The Readiness Action Plan demonstrates the Alliance’s commitment to reinforce our collective defence but strong words must be backed up with firm action. That is why I am delighted to announce that the UK will lead the VJTF in 2017 and contribute to the Baltic Air Policing mission again in order to put the Plan into practice.

– Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary

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Nato to set up 'command units' in six eastern EU countries

Nata will set up what it is calling 'command units' in six eastern European countries. It denied that the move should be considered provocative by Russia.

The move comes as the head of Nato said that Russia's 'disturbing actions' in Ukraine had threatened Europe's security environment, and that recent victories by Ukrainian separatists could be directly linked to the shipment of Russian arms.

France's President Hollande called for a political solution in eastern Ukraine - and said sanctions would be maintained until there is one. Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on the increasing diplomatic pressure on Russia over the conflict.

F-16 hit parked planes in Spain crash

Fire fighters are still tackling the blaze. Credit: EBU

Fire fighters are still tackling the huge blaze sparked after a fighter jet crashed, hitting other stationary planes at a Nato training base in Spain.

Ten people have been killed, 13 injured, seven seriously, the incident which has left several planes still ablaze.

Flames can seen coming from planes at the base. Credit: EBU
A huge plume of smoke from the fire at the Spanish base. Credit: EBU

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Fighter plane crashed shortly after take off at Nato training base

A Greek fighter plane crashed, killing ten and injuring 13 people at a Nato training base in Spain.

The F-16 plane crashed shortly after taking off at the training centre in Albacete, 262 kilometres south-east of the Spanish capital of Madrid.

Albacete, Spain Credit: Google Maps

"The plane, part of the Tactical Leadership Programme of Nato was carrying out a (training) exercise when during the take-off the plane lost power, crashing into the parking area for planes, crashing into various planes that were parked there," said the defence ministry in a statement.

The defence ministry said firefighters were working to put out a fire at the base and the area had been cordoned off.

Thousands of Nato troops in show of force

Nato staged a major military exercise in Latvia today in a practical demonstration of leaders' commitment to defend its Baltic member states in the face of aggression from larger neighbours.

American Nato troops taking part in a major military exercise in Latvia Credit: Reuters

Around 500 paratroopers, hundreds of vehicles and aircraft are taking part in the exercise in Latvia's capital Riga. Exercise 'Steadfast Javelin II' simulates a deployment of NATO soldiers and equipment in another country in a crisis situation.

At a two-day Nato summit meeting in Wales members agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to step up exercises in eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Nato tank arrives for the military exercise in Latvia Credit: Reuters

Over the next few days a total of 2,000 soldiers from nine nations will carry out exercises across Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

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