NATO chiefs of defense gathered in Vilnius on Saturday to discuss Eastern European defense and relationships with Russia accused by the West of inciting the crisis in Ukraine.
© lrp.lt nuotr.

Chairing the Vilnius meeting, Danish General Knud Bartels said it would pay major attention to the so-called "readiness action plan" which stipules the deployment of additional forces and equipment in Eastern Europe.

"We will start by reviewing the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the implications for the Alliance's future relationship with Russia and NATO's military posture. (…) Central to our discussions will be the development and implementation of the Alliance's readiness action plan," the Danish chief of defense said.

In his words, the Vilnius meeting is taking place as instability in the world is growing, therefore, discussions would be "far from routine."

The Vilnius meeting will also touch upon the existing situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa's Sahel region, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the Alliance's mission in Afghanistan.

Heads of state of NATO member countries agreed on additional security measures for Eastern Europe at the NATO Summit Wales in early September.

Welcoming NATO chiefs of defense in Vilnius, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė warned NATO "are limited in time" as "security environment has essentially changed already half a year ago."

"We cannot allow ourselves to be surprised again ‒ because costs will be higher than ever," the Lithuanian president said.

One the eve of the meeting, Lithuania's Chief of Defense Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas said it would focus on the plans to establish international military staffs in the Baltic states, Poland and Romania, referred to by military as "command and control elements."

The staffs, consisting of up to 120 people, would be directly accountable to the NATO command and would take care of the training of arriving allied troops.

Company-sized contingents of American troops are currently deployed in the Baltic states and Poland. They will be later joined by troops from other countries. The spokesman of the Lithuanian chief of defense told BNS the contribution of other countries might become clear during the Military Committee Conference.

BNS
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