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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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Russia to react 'negatively' to greater Nato presence

Russia's permanent representative to Nato has said that Moscow would react "negatively" to any increased Nato military presence in eastern Europe.

In an interview published on the Russian mission's website, Ambassador Alexander Grushko said:

We have already expressed many times our concern about recent increased activity along the Russian borders, on the ground, in the air and in the sea. This [increased Nato military presence] worries us for many reasons. First of all, there is no ground for increased NATO activities.

– Ambassador Alexander Grushko

He warned that any move by Nato to "begin military preparations" could "seriously weaken regional and global security".

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