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The leaders of the United States and Britain are seeking to ensure a solid military alliance against Russia and the Islamic State ahead of a two-day Nato conference in Wales that starts 4 September, writes The Times.

In a joint statement published in the paper, US president Barack Obama and British prime minister David Cameron wish to “use our military to ensure a persistent presence in eastern Europe” that has to be backed up with “a multinational rapid response force, composed of land, air, maritime and special forces, that could deploy anywhere in the world at very short notice.” The leaders call on their Nato allies to match their efforts —

Britain and America are two of only four Nato members to meet the target of spending 2 per cent of our GDP on defence and other states must urgently step up their efforts to meet this too.

The Times notes France has “bowed to pressure” from its British, American and eastern European allies to halt the delivery of a controversial Mistral warship to Russia, in what the papers calls —

a sign that western determination to check [Russia’s] military advances in Ukraine is hardening.