The NATO summit in Vilnius is just a few days away.
Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, visited the Baltic capital and watched a demonstration of the largest NATO exercise in the region with the participation of Lithuanian and German troops: Griffin Storm.
At his side were the President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda and the Ministers of Defense of Lithuania and Germany: Arvydas Anušauskas and Boris Pistorius.
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During the press conference, Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s support for Ukraine for as long as it takes: “…Support to Ukraine is top priority for that summit and I congratulate both Lithuania and Germany for providing critical support and training which helps save lives every day”.
“…NATO – said Stoltenberg – is ready to defend every inch of allied territory. There are now over 40,000 troops under NATO command, primarily in the eastern part of the alliance”. But the goal is also to continue to strengthen the forces in the field, air, land and sea, to be able to respond immediately to any threat from the Russian Federation.
“…We are also demonstrating that, when necessary, we can strengthen quickly. Further strengthening our defense will be high on the agenda at the Vilnius summit. We are rolling out new regional plans with specific forces and capabilities assigned to defend specific allies. These forces exercise together regularly. We have also agreed on a new rotation model for air and missile defense to allow for a rapid transition from air policing to air defense”.
The Vilnius summit will also be preceded by an important meeting in Brussels, with the participation of foreign ministers of NATO member countries, intelligence chiefs and national security advisers. Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance will also be discussed.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO would further strengthen Baltic security”, said the Secretary General.
He also commented on recent events in Russia, with the uprising led by the leader of mercenary troops Wagner against Putin and his regime. “…We continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Russia. The events over the weekend are an internal Russian matter, and one more demonstration of the big strategic mistake that President Putin has made with his illegal war against Ukraine. NATO is also monitoring the situation in Belarus. The allies condemn Russia’s announcements about the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus”.
German Defense Minister, Pistorius, announced plans to permanently deploy a full German brigade to Lithuania: “Germany is ready to deploy a robust brigade to Lithuania on a permanent basis, provided it has adequate infrastructure. For example, barracks, training infrastructure, ammunition depots and of course with the necessary flexibility according to NATO planning”.
The strengthening of NATO, especially on the eastern flank of the Alliance (Baltics, Poland, Slovakia) “It is not to provoke a conflict – declared Stoltenberg – But it is to prevent a conflict. Because credible deterrence is about preventing war, preventing conflict after service peace.”
Still regarding the events in Russia, the Secretary said: “It is hard to think what will happen in the next days and weeks. But we should not make the mistake of underestimating the Russians. We need to continue to provide support to Ukraine and that is exactly what NATO allies are doing with their support, but also with long-term support”.
The NATO summit will be held in Vilnius on July 11 and 12, 2023.
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