The first Lithuanian-Polish Defence Council, to be held in Vilnius on Wednesday, will focus on the defence of the Suwalki Gap.
The Suwalki Gap connecting Lithuania with Poland is just 80 kilometres wide, and is flanked by Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus. NATO has stressed that if the corridor was seized during an armed conflict, the Baltic states would be cut-off from the rest of the Alliance. Read more: To sway Trump on NATO importance, Baltic air policing shows capabilities
Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis and his Polish counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak will discuss concrete steps to strengthen regional security, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said.
It also added that the council will discuss the cooperation of the respective armed forces, possibilities to integrate national airspace and defence systems, and the need to retain a continuous US presence in the region.
NATO has previously trained to secure the Suwalki Gap / AP
The two countries will also establish a joint Suwalki Gap defence unit by endorsing an act of affiliation between Lithuania’s Iron Wolf Mechanised Brigade and Poland’s 15th Mechanised Brigade at NATO’s Multinational Division North-East headquarters.
This will also step up interoperability with Poland, “one of the most reliable Lithuania’s allies in security and defense, as well as with other NATO allies,” the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said.
The Lithuanian-Polish defence council was endorsed on February 21, 2019 by the presidents of both countries.