On Wednesday, the Czech parliament ratified a treaty that paves the way for a US troop presence on Czech soil as the US is looking to further beef up its military posture in Europe.
The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was approved by the lower house of the Czech parliament in a vote of 115-18 and now heads to the desk of President Petr Pavel, who is expected to sign the document.
The Czech government reached an agreement on the DCA with the US back in May. The Czech Republic is the 25th NATO member to sign an agreement with Washington that allows a US military presence.
The US is pursuing a DCA with NATO’s newest member, Finland, and Sweden, which will formally join the alliance soon. The Czech DCA sets a legal framework for the presence of US troops, but any deployment would still need the approval of the Czech government and parliament.
The commander of the Czech Republic’s armed forces, Gen. Karel Rehka, recently warned that Russia and NATO are currently “on course” for a direct conflict.
“We view war between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance as the worst-case scenario, but it is not impossible,” Rehka said in May. “It is possible… [Russia] is currently on a course towards a conflict with the Alliance.”
There is major anti-Russian sentiment within the Czech government as President Pavel suggested last month that Russians living in Western countries should be “monitored” similar to the way people of Japanese descent were in the US during World War II, which involved placing them in internment camps.