February 21, 2016 / 4:04 PM / 2 years ago

Czechs to send 100 troops to NATO's eastern flank -defence minister

PRAGUE, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic is ready to send around 100 soldiers to the eastern flank of NATO to help reinforce the Baltics and Poland and deter Russia, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said on Sunday.

The move is in line with a NATO plan, announced on Feb. 10, to deter Russia from aggression by rapidly deploying air, naval and ground forces without resorting to Cold War-era military bases.

“There is a talk of a platoon, roughly 100 people, who would take part in the alliance’s contingent,” Stropnicky said on Czech Television.

“If the preparation of the (NATO) brigade goes according to plan, and I believe it will, then it is very likely in the second half (of this year),” he said.

In an effort to deter Moscow after its 2014 annexation of Crimea, NATO defence ministers will rely on a network of new alliance outposts, forces on rotation, warehoused equipment and regular war games, all backed by a rapid-reaction force.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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