Dutch join rapid reaction force, won’t send weapons to Ukraine

The Netherlands, Germany and Norway are taking the lead in setting up a rapid reaction force for Nato, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.

The force, aimed at fending off threats to the eastern and southern flanks of Nato members, will have soldiers from all three countries and is due to begin training for readiness in 2016.

‘It must put Nato in a position to react quickly to threats,’ defence minister Jeanine Hennis said from Brussels, where she is meeting Nato ministers.

‘In the coming months we will test how much time is needed to get the force to a border under threat,’ she told a press conference. ‘The current situation calls for the quick availability of our soldiers.’

200 soldiers

The Netherlands is providing around 200 soldiers for the test phase, with another 600 from Germany and Norway. Eventually the ‘Very high readiness joint task force’ will have 5,000 soldiers, including those from other countries such as the UK and France.

Once the force is ready for action, the Netherlands’ role will be taken over by Spain, Hennis said. The Netherlands will, however, provide support.


Hennis also announced that the Netherlands, like other Nato countries, does not want to provide weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country.

‘Most of us only want to supply material that cannot be used to kill,’ she said. ‘Political dialogue is the only way to solve this crisis.’

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