VILNIUS – The Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense has asked the country's the Ministry of National Defense look into the idea of establishing a joint military training area with Latvia.
"The Latvians are installing a training area very close to the Lithuanian border, and we are proposing considering whether joint work is possible for us to have a large training area that would basically take us to a whole new level," Laurynas Kasciunas, the CNSD chairman, told BNS on Wednesday after the committee's closed-door meeting.
In his words, the Latvians plan to set up a training area near the Lithuanian border but it is still unclear how big it would be and the distance from the border would depend on that.
"There's a huge shortage of training space and training areas in the West", Kasciunas said, adding that if a joint training area with the Latvians were established, allies would also be interested in coming to train.
Speaking about Lithuania's readiness to host allies, Kasciunas said "it is a serious ambition to have the entire infrastructure in place by 2026". But the work is taking place according to plan, he added.
"We have already done enough homework on the Rudninkai training area, and they will be able to come and train in the next two years," he added.
Among other things, Lithuania started setting up a new military training area in Rudninkai last year to be ready to host a German brigade. The Lithuanian Seimas has recognized the Rudninkai military area, which covers an area of about 17,000 hectares, as part of critical infrastructure.
Last year, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz signed a joint communiqué stating that "in addition to the current and reinforced enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group already in place, Germany is ready to lead a robust and combat-ready brigade in Lithuania dedicated to deter and defend against Russian aggression".
Vilnius wants a full rotational German brigade to be permanently deployed in the country. Berlin officials, however, have said numerous times that part of the brigade promised by Berlin would be deployed in Lithuania and the rest would stay at home and be ready to redeploy, if necessary.