NATO future agreement on Baltic air defence anticipated in Lithuania
Lithuania anticipates that the North Atlantic military alliance will in 2018 agree on a deal to ensure Baltic air defence systems to fill a gap in the region’s security, the Lithianian Defence Minister has noted. British-Canadian news agency Reuters reports Lithuania, situated between Russia’s ally Belarus and the Russian militarised exclave of Kaliningrad, wishes NATO to permanently deploy anti-aircraft weapons in the Baltics or Poland, but the move seen by Moscow as an unjustified military build-up near its borders. Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis, asked by the news agency if he had noticed signs of an agreement shaping up for the NATO summit in 2018, responded: «We expect so. (..) Air defense is one of the issues which we need to address. We also need to look at other domains, like NATO command structure reform, we need to move forward on all on these aspects».
The minister expressed the views in Helsinki, Finland, after meeting colleagues from Nordic and Baltic states, Britain, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and also the U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis.