Linkevičius: Decisions on the Baltic states’ effective air defence must be taken sooner
On 6 March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius opened the American-Lithuanian conference on air defence in the Baltic region in Washington, D.C. The publication ‘Toward Effective Air Defence in Northern Europe’ by Philip Breedlove, NATO's former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, was presented. One of the most important issues of our region’s capacities – the development of a regional air defence system – was discussed at the conference.
“Air defence is one of the most important items to be remembered when planning the defence system of the Baltic states. Essentially, this poses a challenge to the whole of NATO, which may be overcome only by a united effort of the United States and European countries. In order to develop effective air defence, it is necessary to make immediate decisions and to plan both national and NATO’s investments as soon as possible,” said Minister Linkevičius.
According to the Foreign Minister Linkevičius, Lithuania has already taken concrete steps such as developing a ground based air defence capability and acquired the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS). Linkevičius drew attention to the changed security situation in the region, underlining that it was no longer possible to expect that Russia would speak with Europe and, in particular, with its neighbours without applying military or hybrid pressure measures.
The second conference has been co-organized by Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence and one of the most important American think tanks in the field of international affairs – the Atlantic Council. The event aims to present the air defence capabilities developed by Lithuania and to discuss further plans to contribute to the security situation in the Baltic region, as well as throughout Europe. The first conference was held in Vilnius in December 2017.