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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.

IS 'controlling areas near Saudi Arabian border'

Islamic State militants claim they are now controlling areas in Iraq near the border with Saudi Arabia, ITV News' Middle East News Editor Lutfi Abu-Aun reports.

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Syria: '25 dead' after strikes on Islamic State bakery

Syrian warplanes bombed a bakery run by Islamic State in the city of Raqqa, killing 25 people, in air raids that also hit a major training camp used by the insurgent group for a second day running, a group monitoring the war said.

The air strikes on Raqqa, Islamic State's stronghold some 400 km (250 miles) northeast of Damascus, also hit a building used as an Islamic court, and another of the group's offices, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Rami Abdulrahman, founder of the Observatory, said the bakery was run by the militant group. The Observatory, which gathers information from all sides in the civil war, said the dead included 12 civilians and nine Islamic State activists.

Nato launches campaign to 'degrade and defeat' IS

Nato has launched a campaign to "degrade and defeat" Islamic State (IS) militants amid speculation that Britain could soon join airstrikes.

US President Barack Obama said Nato members were Credit: Reuters

The alliance's summit in Wales wrapped up with David Cameron urging a "comprehensive plan" to deal with the growing threat.

But there were some signs of tensions, with UK officials concerned that the US is not putting enough emphasis on involving regional powers.

And the French said they are not prepared to take part in military action in Syria.

However, US president Barack Obama insisted Nato members were "unanimous" in their commitment to stamp out to the "extremist nihilism" of IS - also known as ISIL and ISIS.

He said: "We are going to achieve our goal. We are going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, the same way that we have gone after al-Qaida."

Alexander: 'Judge Putin by his actions not his words'

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander MP, has responded to the Ukraine ceasefire deal, said that the international community should judge Russian President Putin by his 'actions not his words'.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Russia’s belligerence in the face of international laws and norms cannot be tolerated by the international community.

Coordinated EU and US action to put pressure on President Putin has been key to bringing about this latest agreement. The international community must now judge President Putin by his actions and not simply his words, and be ready to increase the pressure further if he refuses to change course.

– Douglas Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary

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Labour: PM's Nato pledge 'ironic' after forces cuts

David Cameron's announcement of major British involvement in a new Nato reaction force are "ironic" given a "worrying decline" in regular and reserve soldiers, the shadow defence secretary has said.

David Cameron announced 1,000 British troops would join a new Nato readiness force. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour's Vernon Coaker welcomed the decision to send 1,000 UK troops to join the force but noted that the move came as a parliamentary committee criticised ministers for "bungling" army cuts.

He added that the move to bring the UK's second aircraft carrier into service was a positive move but "poses many questions, not least because the Government previously indicated that it had not worked out the cost implications".

Britain first to lead new Nato spearhead force

This week's Nato summit in south Wales has been described as one of the most important in recent history.

David Cameron today said Britain would be the first country to lead a new Nato spearhead force which will be established next year.

ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar reports on the new security measures - intended as a response to Russian aggression.

Obama: We will hunt down Islamic State like al Qaeda

Barack Obama says the United States will seek to "degrade and ultimately destroy" terror group Islamic State in the "same way we went after al Qaeda".

Speaking at the Nato summit in Wales, the President said the US would be seeking to build a coalition of partners in the region to "hunt down" the militants and take out their leadership.

"Already allies have joined us in Iraq where we have stopped [Islamic State's] advances, we have equipped our Iraqi partners and helped them go on offence," he said.

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