Thousands of Nato troops in show of force with military exercise

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

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.

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Nato leaders will meet with Poroshenko at summit

Nato leaders will today discuss the crisis in Ukraine with the country's president Petro Poroshenko.

Nato is expected to bolster its support for Kiev. Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Press Association Images

The alliance is expected to approve a package of support, setting up trust funds expected to be worth around 12 million euros to improve Ukrainian military capabilities.

Russia's relationship with Nato will also be discussed.

A senior Nato official told Reuters that for now, at least, Russia was not a partner.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Russia has basically violated very fundamental agreements on the basis of which we have constructed peace and security in Europe for the last two decades.

"So we have to now figure out what kind of relationship we can have with Russia."

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