VILNIUS - The coronavirus pandemic has once again highlighted the need for maintaining the readiness of the Armed Forces, Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said on Monday after a video conference with his Baltic counterparts.
The three Baltic defense ministers discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on defense capabilities and readiness, the NATO and European Union agenda, and joint Baltic defense projects, the Lithuanian defense ministry said in a press release.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted not only a health crisis but also a security crisis; we have seen an increased flow of disinformation and cyber-attacks," it quoted Karoblis as saying.
"In all countries, including Lithuania, the Armed Forces have been actively involved in the management of the coronavirus crisis, so the pandemic has once again highlighted the need to maintain the readiness of the Armed Forces," the minister added.
"Under these circumstances, we must continue to maintain 2 percent defense funding," he added.
Karoblis said COVID-19 had not changed the basic functions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and had had a "minimal" impact on its readiness. At the same time, the military have provided "important assistance to civilian authorities in dealing with the pandemic".