The Lithuanian army said last week it had received NATO top military commander’s pledge to aspire towards training taking place in Eastern Europe “without major intervals.”
No specific decisions on the so-called Baltic brigade have been made as yet, Lithuanian military said.
The defence chiefs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in May sent Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove a request to deploy a brigade-sized contingent of allied troops to the Baltic states. A NATO brigade typically consists of 3,000-5,000 troops.
“Command of NATO forces in Europe supports NATO deterrence means in Eastern Europe and will continue to make efforts that NATO countries keep sending their forces in future for training on a voluntary basis to the Baltic region. It will also be aimed to make NATO’s military exercises program in the region continuous, that is, exercises will be held without major intervals,” Mindaugas Neimontas, spokesman for the Lithuanian chief of defence, told BNS.
He confirmed that no specific answer on the deployment of the brigade to the Baltic states has been received, refusing to elaborate as the response document is classified.
The commander of the Lithuanian defence forces, Lt. Gen. Jonas Vytautas Zukas, said he sees Breedlove’s response in a positive light.
“Our purpose was not to ask deployment of a specific number of troops or equipment to the Baltic states. We are seeking that the necessary level of deterrence in our region would be ensured on a continuous basis. The means to achieve this goal are not that important,” he told BNS.
Zukas pointed to the fact that NATO fighters would keep guarding the Baltic air space on a permanent basis and a certain number of NATO troops would be training in the Baltic Sea and on land without major interruptions, and their activity would be coordinated by NATO forces integration units established in each country. Moreover, U.S. heavy military equipment will be stationed in the region. In his words, all these steps will increase the security of the Baltic states.
Baltic News Service