Top commander says Lithuania considering Patriot missiles

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) " A high-ranking Lithuanian military commander says long-range Patriot missiles could be placed in the Baltic country as part of a multinational NATO battalion next year.

Major General Vitalijus Vaiksnoras told reporters in Vilnius on Thursday the proposed deployment is under discussion, but no agreement has been reached.

The Patriot surface-to-air system was designed to defend against aircraft as well as ballistic missiles. It's used by the United States, Greece, Japan, Egypt and several other countries.

NATO decided in July to deploy four multinational battalions in Poland and in the three Baltic states next year as a response to growing Russian military activity in the region.

Vaiksnoras says the first troops in Lithuania will start arriving in March "and we will have a fully operational unit by July."

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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