US to deploy hundreds of troops to Lithuania for training in next few years - official

  • 2020-07-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The United States will deploy hundreds of American troops to Lithuania for training over the next few years, a high-ranking Pentagon official said in Vilnius on Thursday. 

"We intend to continue these deployments to Lithuania where both of our forces can mutually benefit from shared operations," Ryan D. McCarthy, the US Secretary of the Army, told reporters after meeting with Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis.  

"This level of cooperation, training, security and, ultimately, stability has been made possible by the commitment of Lithuania in the investment of more than 2 percent of GDP on defense spending and modernization of its armed forces," he said. 

A battalion-sized unit will come to Lithuania from Poland in a few months, and a company of troops is to be sent directly from the US to Lithuania for training in 2022, according to the official.  

"Over the next several years, various types of capabilities (...) will be deploying here to Lithuania and training side-by-side with our great ally," McCarthy said.   

"Let there be no doubt: the US remains ironclad in our commitment to our NATO allies," he said. "Together we will continue to strengthen deterrence and defense in the region."

Vilnius has been consistently seeking greater US military presence in Lithuania. A US battalion with Abrams tanks was stationed in the country between October 2019 and June 2020. 

Lithuania is one of only nine NATO member states that spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. US President Donald Trump has pressured European allies to meet the target. 

Vilnius is also closely watching US plans to move some American troops from Germany to Poland. 

McCarthy said Washington will provide more details about these plans in the coming weeks.  

 "In respect to President Trump's decision of repositioning troops along the European continent, many more details will be coming out of the US government in the weeks ahead," he said.