VILNIUS - The defense ministers from the countries participating in the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) have agreed to increase vigilance and intelligence sharing in the Baltic and North Sea regions.
They aim is to bolster the protection of critical infrastructure in the regions following last week's explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipeline, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense said on Monday.
"We condemn the recent attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipeline. We all understand who is behind that. Lithuania has already taken additional measures to protect its critical infrastructure, especially the Klaipeda LNG terminal and the electricity interconnectors," National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas was quote as saying in a statement released after the virtual JEF meeting on Monday.
"The JEF countries agree that we need to share intelligence and continue to coordinate joint action. We need to be vigilant," Anusauskas added.
The Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines connecting Russia to Germany have been at the center of geopolitical tensions in recent months after Russia cut off its gas supplies to Europe allegedly in response to Western sanctions following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
The pipelines are owned by a consortium largely controlled by the Russian gas giant Gazprom. They are now out of service, but the pipelines still contained gas when they were widely believed to have come under sabotage in late September.
The recent attacks are part of a wider Russian strategy to destabilize its allies and distract them from Ukraine, the Lithuanian national defense minister says, stressing that allied determination to help Ukraine remains unchanged.