NATO announces first-ever activation of Response Force in eastern Europe

NATO Response Force (NRF) troops exercise
(Image credit: JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization leadership activated its Response Force for the first time ever to support Ukraine amid an invasion by Russia, CNN reported Friday.

"NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Tod Wolters activated the multinational force consisting of land, air, sea and special operations forces from the allies that can deploy quickly in support of the NATO alliance," writes CNN.

But the move does not mean that any NATO troops, including U.S. troops, will be deployed into Ukraine. Instead, they will reportedly go to strategic areas in eastern Europe, "to help bolster NATO countries nervous about Russia's aggressive actions." Ukraine is not a NATO member.

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"This is an historic moment and the very first time the Alliance has employed these high readiness forces in a deterrence and defense role. They represent a flexible, combat credible force that can be employed in multiple ways and we are utilizing fully their inherent agility," said Wolters.

The entire NATO Response Force is made up of 40,000 troops, though it is unclear how many troops will be deployed. NATO Secretary General Jens Soltenberg said Friday the first-ever activation was a move to combat "a full fledged invasion of Ukraine," and "further strengthen our posture and to respond quickly to any contingency."

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