BERLIN – Berlin will explore its possibilities to contribute to the shoring up of air defenses in the Baltic region, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has said.
“I personally asked the German chancellor whether they see such a possibility to deploy an air defense system in Lithuania on a rotational basis, to contribute with certain elements. He took that into account and will certainly consult his military experts. And I hope we will be able to clear this up during further contacts,” the Lithuanian leader told BNS on Thursday after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Nauseda stressed that, as proposed by the Baltic countries, the elements of the air defense system could be deployed in the countries on a rotational basis, “knowing that this is a limited asset and there is no surplus of air defense systems in Europe”.
The Lithuanian president pointed out that agreements on shoring up air defenses in the Baltic region had been reached at the Madrid summit already and mentioned attempts to “address” this issue “systematically” at present.
Nauseda noted that Lithuania was also talking to representatives of other countries, including the Netherlands.
“I put that issue forward during my meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte who also took that into account. We will also talk to other countries and will then align our needs and their possibilities,” he said.
“I do hope very much that, once we reach out to several countries, we will nonetheless get a possibility to fit out a certain more or less complete air defense system in Lithuania. However, it will still take some time because we are just starting these discussions,” the Lithuanian president said.
Nauseda added that discussions involved both medium and long-range systems and mentioned _inter alia_ the Patriot missile systems, NASAMS medium-range air defense systems, and radars.
Lithuania and other countries on NATO’s eastern flank have for some time been pushing for the deployment of air defense capabilities in their territories, which, according to them, would allow to transition from the NATO’s air policing mission, launched almost two decades ago, to an air defense mission.