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NATO's new rapid reaction force trains as reassurance to eastern members

  • German army tanks are lined up after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    German army tanks are lined up after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Polish Army helicopter supports soldiers during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    A Polish Army helicopter supports soldiers during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen speaks with German soldiers after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen speaks with German soldiers after the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

More than 2,000 troops of NATO's new spearhead force are training on their response to a crisis, using tanks and live munition at a test range in Zagan, in southwestern Poland.

The exercise Thursday is part of the alliance's massive maneuvers held on its eastern flank to reassure eastern members concerned over Russia's hostile actions in Ukraine.

The exercise, to test and refine the abilities of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or spearhead, that was agreed on at last year's NATO summit, is being watched by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the supreme commander for Europe, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, and defense ministers from Poland, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany.