Lithuania, Poland to work together to beef up NATO's eastern flank – Nauseda

  • 2024-03-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania and Poland will work together to beef up NATO's eastern flank, President Gitanas Nauseda said as he observed Poland's Dragon 2024 national military exercise together with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda on Tuesday. 

"Lithuania and Poland share the same understanding of security threats," Nauseda's office quoted him as saying in Poland. "We will continue to work together to strengthen the security of our countries and the entire NATO Eastern flank."

Nauseda emphasized that Russia will remain the main and long-term military threat to the Alliance as a whole, thus Lithuania sees close security cooperation with Poland as a strategic priority, his office said. 

According to the president, Poland is directly involved in bolstering the security of the Baltic region, actively participates in NATO's Baltic air policing mission and takes part in joint military exercises.

"I am confident that we will continue to strengthen our partnership through security initiatives, as well as through the joint development of the defense industry," he said. 

Nauseda and Duda observed allied forces' joint operation of crossing the Vistula River.

Dragon 2024 is part of NATO's Steadfast Defender 24, the largest NATO exercise in Europe since the Cold War. 

The exercise in Poland "will certify Allied forces for deterrence and defense tasks, prepare for a potential aggression against NATO Allies and executive combat actions across land, air and maritime domains", the Lithuanian Armed Forces have said in a press release.  

"The centerpiece operation of Dragon 24 is deployment of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in assistance to an Ally in the event of aggression which will also highlight the nuances and potential challenges of military mobility across national borders," the military said.

After the exercise, Germany's "enhanced Vigilance Brigade battalion will relocate for continued training in Lithuania as of March 7".  

The exercise is taking place amid discussions in Lithuania about whether Poland's laws would allow it to defend its neighbor in the event of an attack.

Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said last week that Poland's legal restrictions "do not provide for an obligation" to send troops abroad, even in the event of war.

In response, Nauseda said that joint Polish-Lithuanian exercises were aimed at the two neighboring countries acting together.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said during his visit to Vilnius on Monday that that the solidarity between the two countries was unquestionable.