Message from the President’s palace: Lithuania’s approach to defence is changing fundamentally

Leopard tank, the Danish militay. Image Karsten Madsen, Pixbay

Lithuania’s approach to national defence is changing fundamentally, Kęstutis Budrys, Senior Adviser to the President on National Security Issues Kęstutis Budrys, told the President of the Republic of Lithuania after the meeting of the State Defence Council (VGT), Indrė Naureckaitė is writing at the news portal.

On July 24, the meeting of the VGT convened by the Head of State discussed issues related to the structure and development of the national defence system and decided on the creation of a new training ground.

“The issue of the concept of armed defence of the state is classified, with a high level of secrecy, but what should be known is that our approach to defence is fundamentally changing – whereas before we used to emphasise self-defence at first, and then, after allied reinforcements, collective defence, now we are starting to plan collective defence from the first stages.

And the first stage, as you know, is the crisis developing before the military situation”, the presidential adviser said after the meeting.

Budrys recalled that NATO has already adopted the next generation of regional defence plans, and now the Alliance countries have moved into the phase of developing tactical plans.

At the same time, Lithuanian politicians had already approved the creation of an infantry division in the Land Forces at the last VGT meeting, and now, according to Budrys, the implementation is already underway.

“Everything has been put into a document that tells us who we will defend against, who we will fight together with and what tasks our armed forces will have to be able to perform in a given situation,” he explained.

Budrys pointed out that a division will be created by 2030, and a German brigade will be deployed in Lithuania.

The meeting also agreed on the establishment of another training ground.

“The conclusion is that we need another training ground in Lithuania where we can manoeuvre a brigade-sized unit.

That is why today, the VGT recommended the Government to implement the work related to the establishment of such a training ground – it is a military training area, a manoeuvre battalion, not a firing range, which means that all the technical, security, and other requirements are significantly lower, and the chances of finding such a ground in Lithuania are higher,” Budrys said.

The meeting also discussed the possibility of acquiring tanks, but no final decisions were taken.

“The members of the VGT will come back to this issue in the near future when we have more input on this topic”, he said.

As foreseen in the Lithuanian Constitution, the VGT discusses and coordinates the most important national defence issues. The Council includes the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Seimas, the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of Defence.

A. Anušauskas: Protocol of Intent to be signed with a German tank manufacturer in the near future

For his part, Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas said that a letter of intent will soon be signed with German tank manufacturers for the acquisition of tanks.

“In the near future, this week, we will sign a letter of intent with German manufacturers,” Anušauskas told reporters on July 24 after a meeting of the State Defence Council (VGT).

The Minister was not willing to disclose further details.

“No details because this is a protocol of intent. How, how much, who – this is a question for the future because we need sustainable financial sources,” Anušauskas said.

“The creation of additional capacity also requires the agreement of the political forces. This is not a one-year process, not even a five-year process – it is a much longer process”, he added.
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