NATO is deploying small units in six eastern European nations to help coordinate a spearhead force set up in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday the units in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania will be the first of their kind there.

Defense ministers from the 28-nation military alliance will discuss the full force, which can react quickly to any hotspots in Europe, when they meet on Feb. 5.

Stoltenberg said countries responsible for providing the several thousand troops should be known next week. Norway, Germany and the Netherlands are ready to contribute.

The forward units will comprise a few dozen troops only. They will plan and organize military exercises, and provide command and control for any reinforcements the force might require.