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International NATO battalions in the Baltic Sea region are an integral part of regional defense, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė said after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Rukla, central Lithuania, on Friday.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė
President Dalia Grybauskaitė
© LRPK / Robertas Dačkus

About 250 Dutch troops serve in the Allied unit, which is stationed in Lithuania and headed by Germany.

Amid the geopolitical tensions at the Eastern borders of the European Union (EU) and NATO, as well as upcoming Russia-Belarus large-scale anti-Western Zapad 2017 exercise, NATO battalions are an integral part of regional defense and the best deterrence measure, the President's Office cited Grybauskaitė as saying.

International NATO battalions in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland were stationed earlier this year in what the Alliance said was an effort to respond to Russian actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region.

In Grybauskaitė's words, the Allied decision to station troops in the region "demonstrates firm NATO unity, determination and readiness to deter any threat to the Alliance's territory and people."

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