Lithuanian ministry of defence can not cope with the spread of a dangerous COVID-19 among military. The MOD confirmed (https://kariuomene.kam.lt/en/military_insignia/news_1889/military_medics_will_treat_covid-19_positive_isolated_soldiers_of_the_nato_enhanced_forward_presence_battalion_battle_group.html) on Wendesday that eight troops from allies countries stationed in Lithuania as part of an international NATO battalion have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Unfortunately, these are the only data provided by Vita Ramanauskaite, an adviser to the national defence minister. Lithuanian media was informed only about the number of confirmed cases but were not given more details on which countries the infected troops represent.
It is known that the Germany-led NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup has been stationed in Lithuania since February, 2017 and it was deployed in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its military activity in the region. It has been participating in national and joint military events even now.
Today this group has turned to the real threat to national military personnel and Lithuanians working with the military. In the circumstances it is absolutely evident that they should be send home and joint exercises and any other activity should be ceased.
Apparently, Lithuanian authorities think more about country commitments and their image in NATO and not about its military that now take risks every day. Authorities hide full data, do not inform locals and do not give up exercises.
It’s not about fighting, but about everyday routine. Lithuanian young men serving in the national armed forces should be sure of their safety, at least in peace time. But they are not today.
For several years, under the the pretext of military exercises, NATO troops has been deployed in Lithuania. And if this was justified earlier, now the situation has changed dramatically. Accordingly, the foreign military presence in the country must be radically reviewed. But, apparently, the country’s leadership cannot refuse NATO allies and, thus, puts the interests of others above national ones. The statement of Raimundas Karoblis who said that “bilateral cooperation with the U.S. will be regenerated to full force“ after the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) announced the decision to modify the size and scope of the international Exercise Defence –Europe 20, causes surprise and indignation.