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NEWS BRIEFS

Lithuania, Latvia join battle group

BALTIC countries Lithuania and Latvia will join the European Union's rapid reaction force, which is comprised of troops from Slovakia, Germany and Poland, the SITA news agency reported.

On May 23, Slovak Defence Minister Juraj Liška and his counterparts signed an agreement to create the battle group.

It should be ready for deployment in 2010. Slovak armed forces will provide a mechanized unit, sappers, chemists and transportation helicopters. Slovak troops should consist of 150 to 200 soldiers in the 1,500-strong contingent.

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