The UK commitment to a rapid reaction force being set up by Nato is to be extended by three years, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

Mr Fallon told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show 1,000 troops would be sent next year and 3,000 in 2017, chiefly in response to the threat posed by Russia.

He accused Vladimir Putin of “sabre-rattling” and said it was important for the UK to commit to Nato’s mission.

Tory backbenchers and US officials have expressed concerns at UK defence cuts.

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