WARSAW, Poland — Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his Slovak counterpart, Peter Pellegrini, have announced the two countries will cooperate on joint purchases of weapons and military equipment.

“The governments of both countries perceive potential in the field of armament to modernize their armed forces. They also consider cooperation of their defense industries as very promising,” the Czech prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Speaking at a joint session of the two cabinets in the Slovak city of Kosice, Babis noted the Czech Republic produces armored vehicles and Slovakia makes howitzers, owing to which their armed forces could perform joint acquisitions of this gear, as reported by local news agency CTK.

France’s Nexter Group and Czech vehicle-maker Tatra Trucks jointly produce the Titus six-wheel drive armored vehicle. Slovakia’s DMD Group makes the Zuzana 2 155mm self-propelled howitzer.

Pellegrini said that, as the state of the international security environment continues to decline, the European Union and NATO should increase their focus on fostering defense cooperation among their member states.

Babis said this closer defense cooperation format could also include neighboring Poland and Hungary.

After years of sluggish spending, Prague and Bratislava both moved to increase their respective defense budgets following Russia’s alleged military intervention in Ukraine’s eastern part and its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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