Lithuania’s defence minister: Tutkus’ influence won’t affect decision on AFV purchase

DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“This is Tutkus’ opinion. Analysis is in progress, we are (…) choosing among several companies,” the minister told journalists on Monday.

“I have not had an opportunity to familiarize myself with Tutkus’ statement, however, our decision will not be affected by decision or influence of Tutkus or any other citizen of Lithuania,” Olekas emphasized.

In his words, the decision on acquisition of specific armoured vehicles will be made in late September or early October.

Earlier on Monday, Tutkus, Lithuania’s former chief of defence, said that the decision on Boxer infantry fighting vehicles might be a political one.

“I’ve been aware of the fact that they will choose the German-made Boxer for about a year. The statements by Boxer representatives were right to say that the proposal to buy Boxer infantry fighting vehicles was not commercial. The pending decision will probably be political,” Tutkus said in a communiqué.

The general expressed suspicions in connection to the price of the German infantry fighting vehicles, which, in his words, “is possibly 35 percent higher than that offered by other companies.” According to the press release, Boxer maintenance costs during participation in international military operations abroad is not clear.

Olekas, the defence minister, refused to comment on the statements on Monday.

At a news conference last week, Tutkus announced plans to resign from leadership of the Lithuanian Defence and Security Industry Association amid pressure from some financial groups he refused to specify.

On Monday, Tutkus issued a press release, saying that his resignation had to do with the planned acquisition of armoured vehicles.

The Lithuanian Defence and Security Industry Association said on Monday that a decision on Tutkus’ resignation was yet to be finalized, saying the general was now on vacation.

Tutkus was Lithuania’s chief of defence in 2004-2009.

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