VILNIUS – President Gitanas Nauseda believes it is realistic to expect that the rotational forces of the United States will remain in Lithuania beyond 2026.
Nauseda said he did not specifically raise the issue at his meeting with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, but heard assurances of US flexibility in meeting allied needs.
"This issue was not raised specifically, but I think that we will have a chance to talk with the [US] president again during the NATO summit, and I think it is certainly realistic to expect that the US contribution to our security will remain unchanged," Nauseda told reporters after the meeting with the US leader in Vilnius.
According to the Lithuanian leader, Biden said that the US "is very flexible in meeting the needs of our allies" and can "easily maneuver its military resources, its armaments, giving more guarantees to the members of the Eastern flank".
"I think that this issue will certainly be discussed further,” Nauseda stressed.
Around 1,000 US troops are currently stationed in Lithuania, a number that was increased after Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas reiterated to reporters on Tuesday that Lithuania would seek a longer presence of the allied forces.
"We have requests for these troops to stay longer than until 2026, unless the geopolitical situation in the region changes fundamentally for the better during that time. That has not happened yet,” the minister told reporters.