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    Soldiers park their amphibious vehicles on a ship as they participate in a massive amphibious landing during NATO sea exercises BALTOPS 2015 that are to reassure the Baltic Sea region allies in the face of a resurgent Russia, in Ustka, Poland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    Czech Republic Wants to Join NATO Battalions in Baltic States

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    The Czech Republic's Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky has announced that Prague aims to join the NATO multinational battalions in the Baltics, in order to enhance the eastern flank of the bloc.

    PRAGUE (Sputnik) — The Czech Republic wants to join one of the NATO multinational battalions soon to be deployed in the Baltic states, Stropnicky said Thursday.

    "The Czech Republic would like to join NATO group under the framework of the strengthening of the eastern wing of the alliance, under Canadian command in Estonia, or as part of the German group in Lithuania in 2018," Stropnicky said at the meeting of Visegrad Four (V4 Group).

    He added that Czech forces would like to participate in the drills along with the US forces deployed in Europe.

    The V4 Group, established in early 1991, comprises the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia.

    In 2016, NATO increased its military presence on the border with Russia. NATO has been building up its presence and defense capabilities in Eastern Europe, concentrating on the three Baltic States and Poland, with each expected to receive additional battalions starting this year.

    Over a dozen of countries will contribute to four NATO battalions in the region. Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia will contribute to the Canadian-led battalion in Latvia. Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Norway will join the German-led battalion in Lithuania. Denmark and France will contribute to the UK-led battalion in Estonia. Finally, Romania and United Kingdom will join US-led battalion in Poland.

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    battalion, NATO, Martin Stropnicky, Baltic Region, Czech Republic
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