VILNIUS – Unity of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries is necessary in order to achieve tangible results at the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuanian Defense Minister said at the meeting with his counterparts from other Bucharest Nine (B9) countries in Warsaw on Wednesday.
“As the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, we are perfectly aware that Russia poses a long-term threat. In these difficult times, our countries should continuously strive to mobilize allies and partners. Being the most vulnerable, we must speak loudly and with one voice – we should be united while seeking a stronger NATO stance on deterrence and defense,” a press release from the Defense Ministry quoted Arvydas Anusauskas as saying.
Speaking about preparations for the upcoming summit in Vilnius in July, the minister singled out four steps that could beef up forward defense of the Alliance.
In particular, Anusauskas spoke about credible deterrence by increasing troops permanently deployed in the eastern part of the Alliance, about modern collective defense and approval of regional plans involving pre-assigned troops, early deployment of equipment and munitions, as well as stepped-up air defense.
The Lithuanian minister also mentioned Sweden’s membership in NATO and a signal to Ukraine that its “membership in the Alliance is inevitable”, as well as the consensus among all allies that defense spending should reach at least 2 percent of gross domestic product.
The B9 is a political cooperation platform of nine Central and Eastern European countries for strengthening the Euro-Atlantic security.