REPORTS: UKRAINE, LITHUANIA, POLAND PLAN JOINT BRIGADE

The Washington Times on April 23, 2014, reported that Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland are planning to band together and form a joint military brigade, according to local media reports.

Lithuania Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told the Baltic News Service on April 22 he met with the acting defense minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Koval, who assured him that the country will soon sign the founding agreement for the brigade.

Movement toward establishing the international brigade comes as the U.S. military is expanding its land-based exercises in Eastern Europe. Those exercises will take place in two of the countries that are slated to merge their military forces: Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

About 600 U.S. troops will rotate in and out of the countries for about a month. Under the plan, additional exercises will occur on a recurring basis, according to the Associated Press.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said that training involving U.S. troops is “purely bilateral” and not part of a overarching plan to establish a training framework for the joint military brigade.

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