December 5, 2023

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has been fortified with superior weaponry by NATO to safeguard the upcoming assembly of alliance leaders, together with U.S. President Joe Biden. The town is positioned a mere 32 kilometers from the razor-wire topped border fence with Belarus, a Russian ally. To guard the summit, round 1,000 troops from sixteen NATO allies have been deployed, with a number of international locations providing superior air protection techniques that the Baltic states presently lack.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda harassed the significance of securing the skies in the course of the leaders’ gathering, highlighting the approaching arrival of President Biden and leaders from 40 international locations. The Baltic international locations, which have been beforehand beneath Moscow’s rule however have been a part of NATO and the European Union since 2004, allocate a bigger share of their economies to protection, exceeding nearly all of different NATO allies.

Picture supply :- Reuters

Germany has contributed 12 Patriot missile launchers, able to intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles, whereas Spain has introduced a NASAMS air protection system. France is sending Caesar self-propelled howitzers, and navy jets from France, Finland, and Denmark shall be stationed in Lithuania. Moreover, the UK and France are offering anti-drone capabilities, and Poland and Germany have dispatched helicopter-enhanced particular operations forces. Different international locations are sending gear to deal with potential threats involving chemical, organic, radiological, and nuclear incidents.

President Nauseda emphasised the necessity for everlasting air protection within the Baltic states past the summit, suggesting the institution of a rotating power for long-term safety. The collaborative efforts amongst NATO allies replicate their dedication to making sure air security in the course of the summit and addressing future safety issues.

It’s evident that the Baltic international locations’ protection spending, which surpasses 2% of their economies, continues to be inadequate to maintain massive militaries and develop their very own fighter jets and superior air protection techniques. Subsequently, the help offered by NATO allies performs a significant position in enhancing the safety capabilities of the area.

The upcoming summit serves as a reminder of the collective protection dedication inside NATO, as leaders collect to debate essential points. The main target stays on securing the airspace, each in the course of the summit and in the long term, to safeguard the Baltic states and promote regional stability.

Vilnius : Enhanced Safety Measures

Residents of villages in shut proximity to the Belarus border are expressing a robust sense of security, regardless of the presence of Russia’s personal Wagner militia and nuclear weapons within the area. These locals firmly consider that an assault on Lithuania, as a NATO member, from Belarus or Wagner is extremely unlikely as a result of energy of the alliance and the safety it gives. They’ve full confidence in NATO’s capabilities and think about their membership as a assure of safety. Edvard Rynkun, a 67-year-old resident of Kaniukai village, located simply 1 kilometer from Belarus, confidently acknowledged that NATO’s presence acts as a deterrent towards any potential aggression from Belarus. He firmly believes there is no such thing as a purpose to worry the Belarusians.

Lithuania  : German Patriot air defence system units are seen at the Vilnius airport in Vilnius, Lithuania July 7, 2023. REUTERS/Janis Laizans
Picture supply :- Reuters

Elena Tarasevic, one other resident of the realm at 55 years previous, echoed Rynkun’s sentiments and emphasised the essential position of NATO membership in sustaining regional safety. She highlighted the potential penalties if Lithuania weren’t a part of NATO, drawing parallels to the battle in Ukraine. NATO gives a way of safety and stability that may in any other case be absent.

In preparation for the upcoming summit, Vilnius airport showcased eight operational Patriot missile launchers operated by Germany. These missile launchers have been strategically positioned, with particular instructions in the direction of Russia’s Kaliningrad and Belarus. Lieutenant Colonel Steffen Lieb, the commander of the Patriot deployment, harassed the importance of the area’s geography and the necessity to tackle potential threats it poses. Lithuania sought safety for the summit, and in response to each Lithuania’s request and NATO’s name for help, Germany deployed the Patriot missile launchers.

The presence of those defensive techniques and the collaborative efforts amongst NATO allies replicate their unwavering dedication to making sure the safety of the summit. It underscores the proactive measures taken to counter potential threats originating from the close by areas. The help offered by NATO allies reinforces Lithuania’s place and strengthens the importance of collective protection. Because the summit attracts nearer, the first focus stays on sustaining a safe surroundings for the leaders and individuals, with NATO showcasing its preparedness and willpower to safeguard the occasion.

Lithuania Strengthens Border Safety

To bolster safety in the course of the summer season season, Lithuania has considerably elevated the deployment of border guards alongside its borders with Belarus and Russia. The variety of guards has been tripled, and extra officers from Latvia and Poland have been known as in to supply help. Moreover, police personnel from these international locations have been dispatched to help with patrols in Vilnius.

These heightened safety measures are a proactive response to potential provocations, as acknowledged by Rustamas Liubajevas, the chief of the border guards. He expressed issues about varied situations, together with waves of migrants making an attempt to cross the border, border violations, or the surprising look of navy automobiles.

Lithuania  : German Patriot air defence system units are seen at the Vilnius airport in Vilnius, Lithuania July 7, 2023. REUTERS/Janis Laizans
Picture supply :- Reuters

In 2021, Lithuania witnessed a big inflow of migrants from the Center East who entered the nation by way of the Belarus border. Each Lithuania and the European Union consider that these actions have been orchestrated by Minsk, though Belarus denies these allegations. Though the variety of crossings has decreased since then, the state of affairs stays tense, exacerbated by Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. Liubajevas emphasised that border safety was already at a excessive stage even earlier than the summit.

In preparation for the upcoming summit, border checks have been reintroduced alongside Lithuania’s borders with Poland and Latvia, that are additionally European Union borders. These measures have been applied to make sure enhanced safety in the course of the occasion.