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Around 250 Czech troops to join NATO battalion to Lithuania next year

VILNIUS - The Czech parliament has approved the deployment of around 250 troops to Lithuania in 2018 as part of NATO's multinational battalion stationed in the country.

The Czech move will be "a strong political and practical expression of solidarity and readiness to meet the pledge of collective defense," Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky was quoted as saying to lawmakers.

The Czech Senate endorsed the decision this week with 57 out of 68 senators present voting in favor.

The lower house of the Czech parliament approved the deployment of the troops last week.

Around 250 Czech mechanized infantry troops will join the German-led battalion in Lithuania and another 40 Czech troops will be contributed to the Canada-led unit in Latvia.

The Alliance this year stationed battalions of around 1,000 troops each in the three Baltic countries and Poland as a deterrent to Russia following its actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region.

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