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    Members of the US Army of the Pennsylvania National Guard unload equipment as they arrive at a airport in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, June 5, 2016.

    Netherlands May Join NATO Battalion in Lithuania - Defense Minister

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    The Netherlands plans to join NATO battalion in Lithuania under Germany's control, Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said Saturday.

    VILNIUS (Sputnik) — According to Olekas, the details of the Netherlands' contribution and other countries' joining the alliance's battalions may become clear at the next NATO Summit in Warsaw, due to take place on July 8-9.

    "The Netherlands sent us a clear message that it is ready to join us. It was clearly stated at the meeting of NATO Defense Ministers [held on June 14-15, 2016 in Brussels]," Olekas told BNS news agency.

    Olekas added that "Germany will lead the battalion in Lithuania, Canada in Latvia, the Great Britain in Estonia and the United States in Poland."

    Following the NATO defense ministers' summit, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that the alliance agreed to deploy four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The ministers also agreed on measures to enhance defense and deterrence in the Black Sea region.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext for the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup near Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

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    batallion, NATO, Juozas Olekas, Netherlands, Lithuania
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