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Published: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 1:05:13 AM
Updated: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 1:06:10 AM

Czechs to host planned NATO war games next week

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic will host an international air force exercise with other NATO countries starting next week focused on training pilots and target spotters, the general staff said on Thursday.

The exercise, called Ample Strike 2014, will involve 1,400 troops including 300 foreign soldiers from 11 NATO member countries and around 30 aircraft, the army said in a statement. It would run from Sept. 3 to Sept 15.

The war games scenario has not been altered by the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, news agency CTK quoted head of the Czech air force, Libor Stefanik, as saying.

"This is not a reaction to the situation in Ukraine, the exercise has been planned for 10 months," he said.

NATO is considering boosting its presence in its new member states in central and eastern Europe in response to Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. The alliance will hold a summit in Wales next week that will discuss the alliance's response to the crisis.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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