VILNIUS - The United States will increase its naval activity in the Baltic Sea, Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.
That was confirmed by the US Department of Defense's Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro during his meeting with Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Arvydas Anusauskas.
"We are grateful to the United States for its leadership and support in ensuring the security of our region in the air and maritime dimensions. We cannot underestimate Russia, it will recover very quickly, and only a significant US presence in the region will deter Russia from launching another attack," Anusauskas said.
Lithuania is monitoring the Russian Navy's active presence in the Baltic Sea, the minister said, adding that the US naval exercises in the Baltic Sea and the visits of US warships and marine units are of particular importance to Lithuania, the minister underlined.
"We are willing and ready to host more of your capabilities. We are investing rapidly in host nation support and the necessary infrastructure. We aim to provide the best possible conditions for the exercises of incoming troops," he said.
The Lithuanian minister also met with the US Department of Defense's Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall and asked for his personal support in strengthening the air defense of NATO's eastern flank, as well as for more frequent air defense exercises in Lithuania.
"We will pay more attention to the practical strengthening of air defense during the NATO summit in Vilnius. We are seeking NATO decisions on the deployment of additional allied air defense capabilities in the region. We are asking for support for these NATO decisions. This will send a very clear signal that the airspace of the Baltic states will be defended against any threat," Anusauskas said.
In his words, the infrastructure of the Lithuanian Air Force Air Base in Siauliai is being upgraded to create all the necessary conditions for a greater presence of the US and other allies in Lithuania.
The US is a strategic partner of Lithuania and one of the key allies providing security of the Baltic region. Reinforced US rotational forces are also deployed in Lithuania.