Lithuanian president expects breakthrough on air defense system by summer

  • 2024-03-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda expects a breakthrough on the proposed rotational air defense system to be achieved by the summer, noting that the implementation of some of the decisions of NATO's summit in Vilnius last July is yet to start.

"We have to begin implementing the rotational air defense system as soon as possible, and I believe that we should achieve a certain breakthrough by this summer, because declarations only serve as a deterrent when they are practically implemented," he said in Poland on Tuesday.

Nauseda made the remarks as he observed Poland's Dragon 2024 national military exercise together with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda. 

The Lithuanian president said that not all the commitments included in the NATO Vilnius Summit Declaration have started to be implemented, but he did not elaborate on them.

"We still have a lot to do to ensure a credible deterrent effect," the president said.

"The war in Ukraine highlights the importance of air defense. Dominance in airspace or the ability to resist air strikes becomes a key factor for success in warfare," he added.

NATO countries agreed last June on a rotational air defense model in response to calls from the Baltic states to reinforce the current air policing mission.

Given the shortage of air defense weapons, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have proposed a rotational deployment of air defense capabilities, meaning that a different Western partner could send military equipment to a different Baltic country on a rotational basis.

Lithuania has discussed the possibility of deploying air defense capabilities in the region with Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Greece, but has not yet reached any concrete agreements.