Lithuania will never be alone, it's safe to live here – NATO Colonel Nielsen

  • 2024-03-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As Lithuania marks its 20th anniversary of NATO membership, Colonel Peter Nielsen, commander of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Lithuania, says it is a safe place to live and will never be alone in the Alliance.

"I have been living here for almost three years now and people ask me all the time if it is still safe to live in Lithuania. And my answer is always the same: yes," he said at a commemoration ceremony at the Seimas on Thursday.

"You are safe, we are NATO and together we are safe," the NATO officer said.

In his words, NATO's new regional defense plans, approved last year, are comprehensive, all units will be trained to implement them, and that will be the most effective deterrent imaginable.

"This will prevent Russia from attacking NATO," the colonel stressed.


For her part, Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen said Lithuania's NATO membership has enabled it to enjoy a period of relative stability, allowing it to focus on economic growth and social progress. 

She acknowledged, however, that even when Russia attacked Georgia in 2008, the "echoes of aggression" were not loud enough to make the country more concerned about its national defense. 

She also stressed the need to double or even triple Lithuania's defense efforts in the face of geopolitical threats.

"The key thing is to have the political will to defend ourselves and the ability to constantly adapt to changing security challenges. Let us wish that the anniversary NATO summit in Washington will be another step towards a safer, more stable and fairer world," she said.

Lithuania applied to join NATO on January 4, 1994 and became a full member on March 29, 2004.