NATO to outline force aimed at deterring Russia

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NATO to outline force aimed at deterring Russia
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (L), Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) and US President Barack Obama watch a flypast of military aircraft on the second day of the NATO 2014 Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 05: Two F-15C jets and an F-18 (C) fly over Cardiff Bay on September 5, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales. Today is the final day of the two day NATO summit, which has brought world leaders together at the Celtic Manor in Newport. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 05: Red Arrows fly over St. David's Hotel at Cardiff Bay on September 5, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales. Today is the final day of the two day NATO summit, which has brought world leaders together at the Celtic Manor in Newport. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French President Francois Hollande speak as they prepare to watch a flypast of military aircraft on the second day of the NATO 2014 Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 05: A British Typhoon flies over Cardiff Bay on September 5, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales. Today is the final day of the two day NATO summit, which has brought world leaders together at the Celtic Manor in Newport. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (3rd L) speaks with US President Barack Obama as they prepare to watch a flypast of military aircraft on the second day of the NATO 2014 Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and US President Barack Obama watch a flypast on the second day of the NATO 2014 Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
NATO Leaders watch a flypast of military aircraft on the second day of the NATO 2014 Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a media conference during a NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. In a two-day summit leaders will discuss, among other issues, the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for a NATO summit dinner at Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. In a two-day summit leaders will discuss, among other issues, the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center right, speaks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center left, as they attend a NATO-Ukraine round table meeting during a NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. In a two-day summit leaders will discuss, among other issues, the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Britain's Prince Charles at a reception at the NATO summit at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama, center, talks with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, as Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, left, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, second second left, French President Francois Hollande, second row right, and other NATO leaders after a group photo at Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, speaks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as they attend a NATO-Ukraine round table meeting during a NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. In a two-day summit leaders will discuss, among other issues, the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Police line up as protesters gather during a demonstration outside Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Demonstrators gathered outside as delegates arrived for a dinner, on the first day of a two-day NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Protesters hold up banners during a demonstration outside Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Demonstrators gathered outside as delegates arrived for a dinner, on the first day of a two-day NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Protesters hold up banners during a demonstration outside Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Demonstrators gathered outside as delegates arrived for a dinner, on the first day of a two-day NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, third right, meets with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second left, on the sidelines of the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. In a two-day summit leaders will discuss, among other issues, the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, seen on screen, speaks as President Barack Obama and NATO leaders meet regarding Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at the NATO summit at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, stand with other NATO leaders during a ceremony for service members killed in Afghanistan at the NATO summit, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama, center, stands with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, and British Prime Minister David Cameron as he arrives for a NATO summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. World leaders gathered at the golf resort in Wales for a high-stakes NATO summit. While the official agenda will focus on the crisis in Ukraine and the drawdown of the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan, the rise of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria will dominate discussions on the sidelines of the summit. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron visit Mount Pleasant Primary School in Newport, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, on the sidelines of the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron visit Mount Pleasant Primary School in Newport, Wales, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, on the sidelines of the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Government leaders and officials attend a dinner at Cardiff Castle, in Cardiff, Wales on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. A two-day NATO summit is taking place at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport. (AP Photo/Yves Herman, Pool)
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By JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG and JULIE PACE

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) - NATO leaders will back plans Friday for positioning more troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, establishing a rapid response force aimed at easing anxiety among member states near Russia's border and deterring the Kremlin against replicating its provocations in Ukraine elsewhere in the region.

The announcement will come against the backdrop of peace talks involving Russia and Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus. The talks are aimed at achieving a cease-fire to bring an end to the months of fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

While Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko voiced "careful optimism" about the talks, Western leaders remain skeptical. The U.S. and Europe have warned that they stand ready to levy more economic sanctions on Russia, a step a top White House official said could occur within days.

The creation of the rapid response force is the centerpiece of the two-day NATO gathering at a golf resort in southern Wales. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the agreement "will ensure we have the right forces and equipment in the right places."

On the sidelines of the summit, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have been seeking support from their counterparts for a campaign to degrade Islamic State militants that have wreaked havoc in Iraq and Syria.

Both leaders had meetings planned with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a key regional player whose support would be crucial to defeating the militants. Obama also had a bilateral meeting planned Friday morning with French President Francois Hollande.

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