PABRADE, Svencionys District – US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley stated on Sunday that more US troops would arrive in Lithuania.
According to the general, they would be taken from a US brigade of approximately 3,500 troops stationed on NATO’s eastern flank.
Additional troops will be deployed as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.
“Currently, troops are being deployed here,” Milley told reporters at the Pabrade military training area in the district of Svencionys north of Vilnius.
The US military brigade was arriving in Germany where it would receive the necessary weapons from warehouses, he said.
“Then General [Tod] Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General [Christopher G.] Cavoli will send them to different countries,” Milley said.
“Lithuania is one of them”, he added.
AIR DEFENSE, ARTILLERY
The general said that the specific numbers of troops that should be deployed in particular countries were being discussed at present.
General John S. Kolasheski, commander of the US Army V Corps, stated that decisions had now been made to deploy air and missile defense radars, short-range air defense systems and self-propelled artillery installations in Lithuania.
They would be intended to the reinforced US armored battalion of approximately 500 troops stationed in Pabrade.
The United States also has F-35 fighter jets stationed at an air base in Siauliai, Northern Lithuania, as well as troops from US Special Operations Forces serving in the country.
With NATO allies deploying more forces to Lithuania amid Russia’s threat, the government last week allocated 40 million euros for new camps designated for additional forces.
Chief of Defense of Lithuania Valdemaras Rupsys said that such camps, each with a capacity of approximately 800 troops, would be set up in Marijampole, Kazlu Ruda and Pabrade.
He described the United States as “our closest and strongest ally”.
The American leadership “assures us that we are not alone, that we can deter and, in the worst case, defend our country,” Rupsys said.
Milley stated that, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, currently there were no clear and unambiguous evidence of a possible Moscow’s attack against Lithuania or other NATO countries.
“It may change, it may change tonight, it may change tomorrow, it may change next week, but we don’t see it now,” the general said.
CONSIDER PERMANENT DEPLOYMENT
Milley also confirmed that the US was considering a permanent deployment of troops in Lithuania.
The US has deployed rotational battalions of about 500 troops in Lithuania since 2019. However, Lithuania’s officials have been asking Washington to permanently station troops in the country.
The US Department of Defense was currently reviewing the presence of US troops around the world, Milley said.
“The idea of a permanent presence of our forces in Lithuania or any other country is being considered by our policymakers,” the general stated.
He called Russia’s war against Ukraine illegal.
“The whole world understands that,” the officer added.