Around 1,500 NATO troops this summer will train to defend the so-called "Suwalki gap", a land corridor whose protection would be critical for defending the Baltic countries from Russia, the commander of the Lithuanian Land Force said.
NATO HQ
© Organizatorių archyvas

"Territorial defence involving troops from the National Defence Volunteer Force will take place in the southern part of Lithuania at the Suwalki gap. A group of US helicopters will be also deployed there for air support. British marines will also take part in this operation," Brigadier General Valdemaras Rupšys said in an interview with BNS.

"On the Polish side, US, Polish, British and Romanian troops will move toward Suwalki. All these forces will converge at a later stage. In total, almost 1,500 troops will take part in the Suwalki gap operation," he added.

The operation will take place on June 10-24 as part of the annual training exercise Saber Strike.

The Suwalki gap is a land strip of around 100 kilometers on the Lithuanian-Polish border that is wedged between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the west and Belarus on the east. In a military conflict, the seizure of the land corridor would cut off the land route for NATO allies to the Baltic countries.

Lithuanian officials say that Moscow has been rehearsing the seizure of the Suwalki gap during training exercises for several years now.

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