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Wednesday, 12.03.2014, 02:50
Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine create joint brigade
Lithuanian Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene and her Polish and Ukrainian counterparts are to sign an accord on the sidelines of talks Monday and Tuesday among European NATO members at the trans-Atlantic alliance's Brussels headquarters, her ministry said in a statement.
"Lithuania supports the project which is expected to step up the strategic partnership of Lithuania and Poland," the statement said.
"It is also expected that the engagement of Ukraine in the project would induce the country to intensify relations and cooperation with NATO," it added.
Former Soviet republic Lithuania joined NATO in 2004, five years after ex-communist Poland – moved that riled their Cold War-era master Moscow, writes ELTA/LETA.
They are among the staunchest supporters of ex-Soviet Ukraine, which is pushing to be let into NATO despite Moscow's bitter opposition and jitters from several west European member states.
The three-way brigade will be known in army-speak as LITPOLUKRBRIG. The strength of a military brigade usually ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 combining several battalions of 600-1,500 troops, depending on the particular army's tradition.
The ministry said the brigade was set to include a multinational infantry unit, with shared costs, command and training, that could be deployed in multinational operations abroad.
It said the fine details were still under negotiation, with Poland steering the planning.