VILNIUS – An army division could be established in Lithuania around 2030, Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupsys said on Thursday.
"We, as Lithuania, as a country of three million people, really need to have a unit at least as big as a division," Rupsys told LRT Radio. "Of course, it would be difficult to have what we call a tank or mechanized division. But we can create a light division."
"NATO and the American leadership have already promised to give us today those capabilities that we cannot fill," he added.
According to Rupsys, "army aviation" could be an example of such support.
"I think that if we have steady financing and, of course, the political decisions, we (...) can have a medium-sized division in 2030," the chief of defense said.
A division is usually made up of several brigades and includes 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces currently have about 11,500 professional military personnel, almost 3,500 conscripts and nearly 5,400 volunteers.
The Land Force currently comprises three brigades, one of which is composed of reserve and staff personnel.
Rupsys also noted that not only Russia, but also threats in other regions and from China must be taken into consideration when drafting NATO's defense plans, which are expected to be adopted in the spring or early summer.
"We can fight (...) yesterday's war with Russia right now. NATO has no problem with that and Russia most probably understands that," the chief of defense said.
"But we need to prepare for tomorrow and that war could be much broader than just on the eastern front with Russia. That is why we have to think today that our defense is our own top priority, with the help of our allies," he added.