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UK forces set to lead Nato rapid response force next year

The UK will lead Nato’s rapid response forces for the first time in seven years (Ben Mitchell/PA)
The UK will lead Nato’s rapid response forces for the first time in seven years (Ben Mitchell/PA)

UK forces will take the lead on Nato’s rapid response force from the start of 2024, with thousands of soldiers on standby.

The taskforce was created after Russian’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, with the leadership position rotated annually among Nato members.

The UK takes over from Germany on January 1.

British forces last led the task force in 2017.

It comes as Ukraine continue to battle against Vladimir Putin’s forces, with the war set to enter another year after a slower-than-hoped for counteroffensive failed to shift the balance of the conflict.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is at the heart of NATO.

“By heading up Nato’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2024, we are taking another leading position in the alliance, sending a clear message that Britain is stepping up to our global defence commitments as Nato enters its 75th year.

“The UK’s armed forces stand ready, at a moment’s notice, to defend our allies and protect the British national interest.”

“The world is a more dangerous and contested place than it has been for decades and we need Nato more than ever.

“The UK and its allies are committed to supporting Nato and what it stands for.”