The President and the NATO chief, who had taken office a month ago, visited (November 21) the Air Space Control Centre in Karmėlava (Kaunas District) whose one of the main functions is to coordinate the NATO air policing mission
They met with Lithuanian and allied military personnel and heard the report on the security situation in the region.
The Lithuanian head of state and the NATO Secretary General discussed the implementation of the alliance’s collective defense measures.
According to the President, as brutal attacks against Ukraine continue the situation in our region and neighborhood remains complicated.
“Only strong Alliance can ensure collective security. We must implement as soon as possible all long-term collective defense and deterrence measures that were agreed at the NATO summit in Wales this last September,” the President underlined.
The Wales summit held on 4 to 5 September endorsed the NATO Readiness Action Plan providing for the establishment of command and control elements in the Baltic States, the upgrading of defense plans in line with the actual threats, and the creation of a very high readiness rapid response force.
The President thanked the NATO Secretary General for his attention and support to Lithuania’s security.
In response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and threats to the security of the region and the whole of Europe, NATO has already taken the necessary measures to ensure security in the Baltics in the short term. The Baltic air policing mission has been reinforced. Currently 6 Portuguese, 4 Canadian, 4 German and 4 Dutch fighter jets are patrolling in the Baltic States. U.S., Hungarian and Danish troops have arrived for exercises in Lithuania.
According to the President, Lithuania is focused on its commitment to strengthen national defense. The national agreement has been reached to increase the defense spending up to 2 percent of the GDP by 2020. Next year’s defense budget will amount to 1.3 percent of the GDP.
Lithuania also established the rapid response force prepared to counter the hybrid war threats. It is improving its capabilities as a host country.
Jens Stoltenberg was previously Prime Minister of Norway.