The Czech military may join the NATO multinational forces in Lithuania and Estonia in 2018, Czech Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický said while visiting Czech troops participating in Lithuania's Training Bridge 2017 exercise.
Talks with Germany, who is to lead the multinational battle group based in Lithuania, have almost been completed, the Czech minister said.
Stropnický likewise said that Czech soldiers may also be deployed within the NATO contingent that will operate in Estonia under British command, noting that negotiations were still underway.
In 2016, NATO decided to send multinational battalions led by U.S., British, Canadian and German troops to Poland and the Baltic states due to concerns over Russia's territorial ambitions following its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and continued support of pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
While the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic have not yet taken part in this action, Stropnický stated one month ago that the Czech Army would like to contribute to the reinforcement of NATO's eastern flank beginning next year, either in Estonia or Lithuania.
During his visit to Lithuania, however, the defense minister said that the Czech Republic might participate in both battle groups.
Editor: Aili Vahtla