From RIA Novosti: Ukraine has been invited to join the NATO Response Force as a partner country in 2015-16, a spokesman for the NATO military committee said Wednesday.

Colonel Massimo Panizzi said Ukraine would become “the first non-NATO country to join the Response Force.”

The Response Force consists of rapid deployment forces with land, air and sea components, capable of swiftly reacting to crisis situations.

Panizzi added that the matter would be discussed at a meeting of Ukrainian and NATO chiefs of staff on January 26 in Brussels.

He described the move as “a significant step forward in the implementation of military reform” that NATO is expecting from Kiev “on its way” toward NATO candidate status. (graphic: RIA Novosti)