Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius says that a German general's statements about deploying the Patriot air defence systems in the Baltic states are a step in the right direction, but no official proposals had been received yet.
Patriot missiles
© Reuters/Scanpix

Patriot aircraft and missile defence systems could fill air defence gaps in the Baltic states, according to Linkevičius.

"There are no official proposals, but the words are in the right direction. The Baltic states have certain gaps in their capacities, and aircraft defence is one of the gaps," the minister told BNS on Tuesday.

"Any type of stationing – temporary or permanent, or attempts to deploy – these are all discussions in the right direction, and we should applaud the plans," he added.

Germany's Brigadier General Michael Gschossmann has hinted at a possibility of stationing the Patriot system in the Baltic states earlier this week.

"We could offer even more reassurance and send a political signal if we took a mixed task force with German, Dutch and US Patriot systems - a purely defensive asset - and set it somewhere in Poland or the Baltic states," he said in an interview published by Reuters on Monday.

Joint operations of the Patriot systems will be tested by German and Dutch military during a joint training in October. In the general's words, such interaction could become a model for deployment of multinational elements in Eastern Europe.

Patriot are long-range missiles able to shoot down aircrafts or ballistic missiles. Lithuania is currently holding talks with Norway on purchasing a medium-range aircraft defence system.

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