Lithuania made right decisions in responding to threats – NATO corps commander

  • 2023-11-24
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania has made the right decisions in responding to increased threats, Lieutenant General Jurgen-Joachim von Sandrart, commander of NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast, said in Vilnius on Friday.  

"Lithuania is a nation that is well prepared (and) has taken, from my point of view, the right decisions to get even more prepared in close coordination with all Baltic states, with the neighbor Poland and the nations that are engaged there, for example, Germany, which I'm happy about, but also the Americans, the Dutch, the Norwegians, they are all here," von Sandrart told reporters.

The Multinational Corps Northeast commander, accompanied by Lithuania's Chief of Defense General Valdemaras Rupsys, on Friday inspected the military equipment being prepared for Saturday's parade marking the 105th anniversary of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.  

The Lithuanian Armed Forces' Vilkas infantry fighting vehicles and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, the US Army's Abrams tanks, Bradley IFVs and Paladin self-propelled howitzers, and the Bundeswehr's Leopard tanks, and Puma and Marder IFVs have already been lined up for the parade.

"That shows how far we have come with regard to the integrated, collective cooperation that is built on trust and friendship," the NATO general said, pointing to the military equipment. 

"Lithuania is a front nation. You have a common border with Kaliningrad, which is Russia, you have a common borderline with Belarus, which we consider being highly influenced by Russia, so you have a completely different threat perception that is real and you have reacted properly," he said.

Rupsys said that the military parade has to send a message of deterrence to the enemy by showing that "we are strong, we are united and NATO is strong", and a message of security to the people. 

"Our message to the people is, first and foremost, that they are safe," the chief of defense said. 

"Let's build houses and have children, big families, so that we live in joy, students study and schoolchildren are happy and calm, knowing that we, the Armed Forces, soldiers and allies, are committed to defending our state," he said. 

Von Sandrart came to Vilnius to congratulate the Lithuanian Armed Forces on their 105th anniversary and to participate in the parade of Lithuanian and allied military personnel and equipment. 

Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast is responsible for Allied Land Command operations, including the deployment of the NATO Response Force in the northeastern part of the Alliance. It provides coordination to NATO capabilities deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.