News2019.10.28 17:15

Russia remains a threat, says Lithuanian Defence Minister 2019.10.28 17:15

“Russia remains the main security threat in our region, therefore, strengthening NATO deterrence and defence and implementing security measures [...] is essential,” Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said at a NATO meeting in Brussels on Friday, according to the Lithuanian MoD press release.

“Lithuania firmly upholds the commitment to allot at least 2 percent of GDP for defence and has all mechanisms in place that will ensure additional national defence funding if the economy grows at a faster pace than forecasted,”

Burden-sharing will be high on the agenda of the NATO Summit due to take place in London on December 3-4, according to the ministry.

Karoblis underscored that the Baltic states lack adequate air defence measures, which leaves them vulnerable.

Lithuania has been seeking to change the mandate of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission to an air defence deployment. Speaking earlier in October, Karoblis said the air defence mission had already been approved by NATO in 2016, but has not yet been implemented.

The new mandate would allow fighter jets to carry out defensive tasks, and NATO could deploy ground-based air defences.

Read more: Vilnius calls for NATO to deploy air defences in Lithuania

During the upcoming NATO summit, Lithuania will also call on the alliance to implement the NATO Readiness Initiative agreed in Brussels in 2018, according to the ministry.

“It is a very important initiative to which Lithuania will contribute corresponding capabilities,” said Karoblis.

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