Lithuania continues attempts to support the image of a democratic state and at the same time not to lose foreign military support.
On September 26, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda made his first address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. In his speech he said that threat to Russia’s neighbouring countries remains strong and Moscow is attempting to further destabilise neighbouring states.
Such a statement can be regarded as a call for further support in developing Lithuania’s military capabilities to oppose Russia in the Baltic Region.
In order to look “nice” in the eyes of the world community, Gitanas Nausėda added that Russia could change and inspire confidence.
As we know, it could be done only by political means and only through negotiations.
The Lithuanian president underlined also that “determination to adhere to international law is often the last barrier separating our countries from unpredictable and therefore dangerous disorder”.
From the very beginning it sounded as if Lithuania would like Russia to change its position on the international arena. But later the Lithuanian president contradicted himself. He called not to create any international platforms with Russia’s participation designed to resolve existing political and military problems. Thus, he strongly rejected the idea of some political leaders to create a new geopolitical space from the Atlantic Ocean to Vladivostok, drawing Russia in.
It turns out that Lithuania is not interested in changing Russia’s position.
The recent events in Lithuania illustrated such two-faced position on contemporary politics.
Lithuanian authorities are not going to change their plans. According to the Ministry of National Defence Rotational U.S. force, a battalion-sized unit of over 500 U.S. Army soldiers, will deploy in Lithuania to ensure deterrence and train in exercises shortly in October. The unit is part of the U.S. Army’s Europe Operation Atlantic Resolve.
“We have sought for a larger long-term U.S. military involvement in Lithuania and the region consistently and patiently. Therefore the deployment of the U.S. Army battalion for a longer period of time is good and awaited news and a result of our efforts and investment,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said.
He also underscores that Lithuania has already hosted many U.S. battalions, however, that used to be in the framework of concrete exercises. This time the U.S. forces are arriving for a long-term deployment, not for an international exercise.
The troops will bring heavy equipment 30 Abrams tanks, 25 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, 70 wheeled vehicles and will deploy at Gen S. Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė.
The U.S. battalion is planned to stay in Lithuania until spring 2020.
The more so, on September 26 the Lithuanian Armed Forces accepted 110 Unimog U5000 trucks of 5t payload manufactured by Germany’s Daimler AG as it is updating its truck fleet with vehicles of the same make as there already are in the fleet.
The trucks are delivered on the basis of a contract signed back in 2015 though continuing successful cooperation of the Ministry of National Defence and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). 88 such trucks have already been delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces; the contract covers acquisition of the total of 340 new Unimog trucks.
The 110 have been delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces on the basis of the contract on the Unimog truck acquisition between the Defence Materiel Agency under the MoD and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency updated in 2018. Daimler AG is committed to delivering the remaining 142 trucks in 2020-2021.
In other words, Lithuania does not really want Russia to change its position and behaviour. It is profitable for Lithuania to show its political concern, arm itself and get help. Lithuanian authorities do not care of escalating tension in Europe and it ignores attempts to resolve crisis of political confidence in Europe by political means.