Posts published in Day: June 20, 2019

Skvernelis voices doubts on whether to stay as Lithuania’s PM

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says he has doubts on whether he will stay in the position after the inauguration of President-elect Gitanas Nauseda. “I really still have many internal doubts and thoughts,” he told the Ziniu Radijas news radio on Thursday. Skvernelis said his decision would depend on the outcome of the ongoing ruling coalition talks. He hopes the coalition agreement will be signed next week. “To be just…

New Pentagon boss expected to bring burden-sharing message to NATO

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Incoming Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper will head to Europe next week, where he is expected to press allies to increase spending while meeting with NATO defense ministers. On Tuesday, Pat Shanahan resigned as acting defense chief amid reports that disclosed episodes of domestic violence within his family during his time as a Boeing executive. President Donald Trump soon after named Esper, who was Army secretary, to the acting defense…

Ramstein airman found guilty after sexually assaulting another airman, stealing his PlayStation

Thursday, June 20, 2019

After sexually assaulting a drunk airman in the airman’s own dormitory bed last year, Airman 1st Class Jordan Hickman left the victim’s door as he found it — cracked open — and left, carrying a PlayStation console under his arm. Video footage from a security camera would show Hickman spent 19 minutes in the victim’s room, after closing the door and turning off the lights inside, as described at a…

Army can’t simply be “loaned out,” Latvian Defense Minister tells Interior Minister

Thursday, June 20, 2019

There were further signs of discord among the Latvian cabinet June 20 with the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry the latest to air their differences. Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (Development/For!) issued a statement containing a thinly-veiled critique of Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens (KPV LV), who on June 19 had told a Saeima Committee that his ministry had floated the idea of getting the army involved more actively in the security of the eastern…

Grybauskaitė vetoes ‘restrictive’ law on gun ownership during wartime

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Thursday vetoed a law which, in her opinion, might restrict citizens’ rights to have guns during crises or wartime. Adopted by the Lithuanian Seimas, the law states that guns and ammunitions can be temporarily taken or commandeered pursuant to the procedures and conditions defined by the laws on emergency situation and martial law. According to Grybauskaitė, “such legal regulation creates pre-conditions for taking guns and…

Fake news target NATO exercises

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fake news on the ongoing military exercise in Lithuania was published on Wednesday when several news websites were hacked. The valstietis.lt and baltictimes.com news websites were hacked and a fake news report was published in the Lithuanian and English languages, stating that radioactive substances polluted the river Neris following the testing of mass destruction weapons. Lithuanian officials call it a conspiracy aimed at the country’s army. “It’s fake news aimed…

Lithuania: coalition negotiators complete talks, fail to agree on child benefit

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Representatives of four parties in Lithuania, holding negotiations on a future ruling coalition, said on Thursday they have completed their work, acknowledging, however, their failure to agree on the child benefit. They suggest signing a national agreement on social policy funding, though. “Our negotiators have finished work. Probably, the key point is that we agreed on a long-term increase of social policy funding for the next five years,” Tomas Tomilinas,…

Baltic defense ministers to discuss security in Tartu

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The ministers of defense of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were about to meet in the South Estonian city of Tartu on Wednesday and Thursday to focus on the future of European defense, transatlantic relations and an increase in US presence in the Baltic Sea region, as well as various topics of capability development and future of the defense cooperation of the Baltic countries. The Estonian minister of defense, Juri Luik,…

Latvia rejects Unmarried Couple’s Law intended for cohabiting partners

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Latvian parliament has on Thursday, June 20, rejected the draft Unmarried Couple’s Law proposed by MPs from the governing New Unity and coalition member Development/For! for the protection of cohabiting unmarried partners. On Thursday, Saeima MPs voted down the proposal to send the bill for review in the parliament’s commissions. Daniels Pavļuts, the leader of the liberal party alliance Attīstībai/Par!, commented on Monday, June 17, that the law would…

Estonian military surveillance plan rejected by Kaljulaid to reach court

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Rejected as unconstitutional by the Estonian President, Kersti Kaljulaid, the plan to expand military surveillance in the country will reach the Estonian Supreme Court in autumn. Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported on Wednesday, June 19, that the President and the Estonian parliament disagree on the provisions of the amended Defence Forces Organisation Law, which has now been rejected twice by Kaljulaid. ERR explained that the draft amendments to the bill would grant…