BELGRADE – Croatia will join a NATO battalion that will be stationed in Lithuania from next year, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Thursday.
At the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8, the Alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said that the military bloc would strengthen its presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations.
The United States will lead the troops in Poland, while the United Kingdom will head the battalion in Estonia, Germany the one in Lithuania, and Canada that in Latvia.
“We decided to send a group of military that will cooperate with the German military and will be stationed in Lithuania,” Grabar-Kitarovic said at a joint press conference with her Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaite.
NATO has been boosting its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, citing Russia’s alleged interference in that conflict as justification for the move.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, calling NATO’s military buildup near Russia’s borders provocative.