NATO to boost rapid-response unit from 40,000 to over 300,000 troops in apparent response to Putin's war

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NATO Response Force Very High Readiness Joint Task Force soldier
A Dutch soldier with the NATO Response Force's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force unit in Muenster, Germany, in 2015.REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

NATO's chief announced plans to increase its rapid-response unit from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, in a move that appears to be prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We will transform the NATO Reponse Force and increase the number of our high-readiness forces to well over 300,000," Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference in Madrid on Monday, according to Reuters.

The unit was created after Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine, and was activated for its first collective-defense mission a day after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 this year.

Stoltenberg said the expansion marks the "biggest overhaul" of NATO's defense units since the Cold War, Sky News' Deborah Haynes reported.

Stoltenberg's comments come days before a NATO summit in Madrid later this week, where the plan will be agreed, Haynes reported.

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