France to lead NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2022

France will assume command of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, which was formed to deal with Russian aggression against Ukraine, beginning in 2022, the alliance announced Wednesday. File Photo by Sgt Marc-André Gaudreault/U.S. Army

Dec. 30 (UPI) — France will assume command of NATO’s highest-readiness military force for one year beginning next month, the alliance announced Wednesday.

The nation will take the helm of the formation, formally known as NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force or VJTF, beginning Sunday with a brigade of 3,500 French and German troops serving as the core of the force.

“I thank France for leading NATO’s rapid reaction force in 2022,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is a substantial contribution to our collective defense, and France’s leadership is a strong display of commitment and capabilities.”

Led by France’s Rapid Reaction Corps in Lille, the brigade will be joined by forces from other NATO countries, including Spain, Portugal and Poland.

The VJTF was created in 2014 to respond to crises in the Middle East and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as U.S. President Joe Biden is set to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin about “Russia’s military build up on the border of Ukraine.”

Currently, Ukraine estimates 122,000 Russian troops are within 124 miles of its border, up tens of thousands from weeks ago.


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