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NATO Plans High-Readiness Force to Counter Russia

Flags of member nations flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. NATO on Friday urged Russia to cease its military actions and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys) AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Oliver Darcy.

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO's chief says the alliance's leaders will be asked this week to approve the creation of a high-readiness force and the stockpiling of military equipment in Eastern Europe to help protect member nations against potential Russian aggression.

Flags of member nations flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. NATO on Friday urged Russia to cease its military actions and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters Monday the proposed new force could be comprised of several thousand troops contributed on a rotating basis by the 28 NATO countries.

Backed by air and naval assets, he said the unit would be a "spearhead" that could be deployed on very short notice to help NATO members defend themselves against any threat, including from Russia.

NATO opens a summit meeting Thursday in Wales that is expected to be dominated by how the U.S-led alliance should react over the long term to Russian actions toward Ukraine.

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