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2014.05.02 11:59

Lithuanian Minister of Defence sees arrival of NATO ships as sign of unity, solidarity

BNS | DELFI | The Lithuania Tribune2014.05.02 11:59

 (BNS) The arrival of NATO ships to Lithuania is yet another sign of NATO unity and an instrument to prevent Russian aggression, says Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas.

 (BNS) The arrival of NATO ships to Lithuania is yet another sign of NATO unity and an instrument to prevent Russian aggression, says Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas.

“The arrival of NATO ships is yet another sign of NATO unity and solidarity,” the minister told BNS after welcoming the ships in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda on Friday.

“It is important that the collective defence path we have chosen works, that our partners arrive in time when we are talking about possible aggressive actions in our region. They are not waiting for the actions to happen, they come as a preventive instrument in the shape of combat land, air and sea capacities,” Olekas added.

In his words, the group of ships deployed in the Baltic Sea is “intended to facilitate the arrival of other ships and make sure that the arrival is possible and that the routes are not dangerous and free of mines.”

The group includes four mine-hunters and a support vessel from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia.

During their presence in the Baltic Sea region, the NATO ships will participate in an intensive program of marine operations, visit a number of ports and attend the Latvian international mine neutralization operation Open Spirit later in May.

In the wake of the Russian actions, NATO has already stepped up its air-policing mission in the Baltic states, in addition to a US land forces unit deployed in Lithuania.

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