President of the Republic of Lithuania

The focus of the U.S. is on security of the Baltic states


Friday, September 1, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General, of the United States European Command (EUCOM).

Security situation in the Baltic states, bilateral military cooperation between Lithuania and the U.S. and enhancement of NATO’s defense and deterrence were discussed at the meeting.

According to the President, the focus of the United States on security of the Baltic countries is paramount, especially now, when large scale offensive military exercises “Zapad 2017” will begin in Russia and Belarus in the middle of September.

Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed gratitude to Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges for the unwavering support of the United States and his personal contribution in enhancing security of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in 2014, when Russia began its aggression against Ukraine and occupied Crimea. Lt. Gen.  Ben Hodges was also among the first to draw attention to the problem of “Suwalki corridor” and focused on enhancing its defense.

Following the assessment of presently tense security situation and the approaching exercises “Zapad 2017”, the air-policing mission of the Baltic states was taken over by the highly experienced U.S. Air Force. The air space of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia is protected by twofold more fighters than usually. The U.S. Rotation Company and military equipment has been deployed in Lithuania as well.             

Referring to further enhancement of security and defense of the Baltic States, the President underscored that the U.S. leadership in ensuring the continuous presence of troops and regional air defense was paramount. According to the President, highly experienced U.S. forces and modern weaponry in the region serves as the best measure of deterrence.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė also underscored that further enhancement of defence of  NATO’s Eastern flank was the matter of security of the entire Alliance. This necessitates the development of continuously updated defense plans with attributed capabilities and with indicated measures to curb possible military isolation of the Baltic states, as well as speeding-up decision-making with more powers being delegated to military leadership. Based on arising threats, military forces have to be geographically redeployed accordingly.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2017.09.01 14:59