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Moscow concerned by plans to form joint Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian military brigade

Russia is concerned by the plans of creating a multinational brigade consisting of units of Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian armies, the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said on Thursday.

"The goals of establishing such a structure are a source of concern. The army of Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, already looks like a foreign legion," Lukashevich said.

The Russian president compared Ukraine's army to a NATO legion with a geopolitical goal to contain Russia in late January.

"In essence, this is already not an army, but a foreign legion, in this case NATO's foreign legion that certainly does not pursue the goal of defending Ukraine's national interests," the president said.

The defense ministers of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania in September signed an agreement on the establishment of a military brigade "for participation in peacekeeping operations and strengthening regional cooperation". The brigade was named after the first letters of participating nations: LITPOLUKRBRIG (LitPolUkrBrig).

There are plans to use the brigade, up to 4,500-strong, under the UN and EU aegis. It is supposed to become fully operational in two years.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 05Feb15]

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