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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Kremlin officials welcome ceasefire deal

Kremlin officials have welcomed the ceasefire reached by Kiev and pro-Russian rebels and urged all sides to observe it closely, Russian news agencies have reported.

The Russian presidential office welcomes the signing of the protocol in Minsk.

Moscow hopes all the provisions of the document and the agreements reached will be thoroughly observed by the parties and that the negotiating process will continue until the crisis in Ukraine is fully resolved.

– President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov as quoted by the Russian Interfax news agency

He said the agreement followed initiatives by Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

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