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2015.09.08 13:45

Spending on Defence to be Increased

Algirdas Acus 2015.09.08 13:45

The just re-elected President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite held her first meeting with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius dominated by discussions of increasing defence spending immediately – one of the purchases to be Polish air defence system GROM.  

 The just re-elected President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite held her first meeting with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius dominated by discussions of increasing defence spending immediately – one of the purchases to be Polish air defence system GROM.

Security issues amid Eastern Ukraine crisis were an important part of Grybauskaite's re-election campaign, which proved to be a success. As a result, Grybauskaite won in Sunday's Presidential runoff with almost 60% of the votes.

After the meeting, Grybauskaite agreed with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius to increase defence spending by additional 40 million Euros. One of the planned purchases will be Polish defence missile system known as GROM.

Poland has offered to buy the system under simplified conditions, so that it could reach Lithuania earlier, maybe even this year. However, Lithuania so far has not revealed any details or costs of the yet to be signed GROM contract.

The main advantage of the system is that it can be used by small tactical units operating separately and at a distance from larger ones. The new defence weaponry will complement the existing STINGER and RBS-70 systems in Lithuania.

GROM system has been successfully employed in the Georgian war against Russian armed forces. GROM can destroy targets at a distance between 400 m and 5.5 km, and at an altitude of 10 m to 3.5 km.

All major Lithuanian parties, urged by Grybauskaite, signed the commitment to increase military spending up to NATO recommended 2% of GDP, by 2020. The signing ceremony took place in the Presidential Palace in March, during the commemoration of Lithuania’s 10th anniversary in NATO.

This year’s budget includes only 0.8% of GDP for defence. The increase has been considered after Russia annexed Crimea and NATO urged to reach the recommended 2% level.

SHOTLIST

Note for editors: There are no shots of the meeting, because it was not for cameras...

05-25, Sunday, Grybauskaite just after announcing that she’s been re-elected

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE, the re-elected Lithuanian President:
 

We have just got the message that Poland agrees to sell us GROM , so the work continues. I plan to speak with Prime Minister about budget amendments, and I hope that the Government will make an offer already during this session, because it is necessary to buy the needed equipment.

2014 March, Lithuanian leaders sign commitment to reach 2% military spending:

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius

Loreta Grauziniene, Speaker of the Parliament

Andrius Kubilius, Leader of the Opposition

 

Butkevicius after meeting with Grybauskaite

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

ALGIRDAS BUTKEVICIUS, Prime Minister of Lithuania:
 

May aim is to find additional resources to fund the national defence, but at the same time I strongly oppose the idea of increasing fiscal deficit.

Juozas Olekas, Minister of Defence, arrives

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

JUOZAS OLEKAS, Lithuanian Minister of Defense:
I cannot disclose neither how much it will cost, nor what amount we will acquire, because there is a confidentiality clause in the treaty.

Shots of Lithuanian troops at drills, recent archive

Soundbite (Lithuanian)