VILNIUS – NATO has to beef up air defense on its eastern flank and step up deliveries of air defense systems to Ukraine following the recent deadly missile explosion in Poland, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has said.
In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the president said the incident showed that "the war in Ukraine is entering the next stage", which means that countries not directly involved in the conflict may suffer and that Russia's attacks on civilian infrastructure are moving closer to Ukraine's western borders.
"Unfortunately, we cannot reject the possibility, that it might happen in my country, Poland or in other countries of NATO eastern flank. I think the reason and the trigger of this incident is the massive shelling, bombing of Ukrainian territory," Nauseda said.
"We need very clear action from NATO. And I think the best instruments we can use in the situation, first of all, are to strengthen the security of the eastern flank by providing more air defense systems," the president said.
"And I am talking not only about air defense systems in the NATO; I am talking about air defense systems to Ukraine," he added,
A missile landed in Poland near its border with Ukraine last week, killing two local people. In response to the incident, Lithuania has raised the level of readiness of its air defense units, and the president-chaired State Defense Council decided on Monday to accelerate the acquisition of medium-range air defense systems.