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U.S. Congressmen praise Lithuania for increasing defence spending

2017.05.31
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Lithuania’s increasing of defence spending demonstrates fulfilment of commitments and shows a great example to other NATO members, members of the U.S. Senate Committees on Appropriations and Armed Services said at a meeting with Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis at the Ministry of National Defence on May 31. Minister R.Karoblis pointed out that the Lithuanian Government will continue increasing the defence budget to reach 2.06 percent of GDP for defence as soon as next year, while the increase will be used for modern equipment, enhancement of the Lithuanian Armed Forces capabilities, modernisation and expansion of military infrastructure and training areas.

 

The high U.S. officials are visiting Lithuania to take stock of U.S.-NATO allies’ cooperation, to familiarise with the security situation in the region in light of increased Russian aggression, and to discuss the effectiveness of the deterrence measures agreed in Warsaw. “Russia is swelling its readiness and military capabilities, which makes us appreciate very much that we have a robust NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion in Lithuania within less than six months,” R.Karoblis said at the meeting. “However, the security situation in the region is not getting any better and we have to consider additional defence measures, including enhancement of air defence.”

 

The Minister thanked the U.S. officials for the lasting support to Lithuania’s defence. “We understand completely the necessity to take care of our security primarily ourselves, however, our national efforts are not sufficient for a reliable deterrence. While active U.S. and NATO involvement in the region as well as physical presence of U.S. troops in the Baltic region is the game changer.”

 

According to Minister R.Karoblis, with the regard to the changed security situation in the region, NATO should focus more of its forces on the East from where the Alliance faces major threats, to accelerate the decision-making process, and to delegate more power to military command in cases of crisis.

 

The delegation was particularly interested in the Russian propaganda aiming to discredit Lithuania’s NATO membership, NATO presence in Lithuania, and the disinformation Russia spread. “Public opinion polls show that the absolute majority of our citizens support NATO membership and presence of allied troops in our country which makes me think that the Russian actions also have the opposite effect – public resilience to fake news is increasing,” R.Karoblis said.

 

The U.S. Congressmen also met with President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Speaker of the Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis, and representatives of other institutions while in Lithuania.

 

Photo credits: Giedrė Maksimovicz

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