NATO must be ready to defend not just police Baltic air defence – Breedlove says in Vilnius

Philip Mark Breedlove, commander of the US European Command
Reuters/Scanpix

“Baltic air policing is a peacetime mission but I think that the Alliance does need to be ready for the air defence mission,” he told journalists in Vilnius on Tuesday after meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas.

US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute also last week spoke about the need to create a mechanism for allied fighter jets performing the Baltic air policing mission to be able to do air defence in case of a crisis.

It means that fighter jets stationed in the Baltic states as part of the air policing mission would be able to perform combat tasks.

According to Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, involvement of air policing mission jets in combat action in case of war is currently not regulated, and Lithuania wants to set a clear procedure of when NATO air policing mission jets would be able to take combat action to discipline airspace violation during peacetime.

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