Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said in Lithuania he did not see signs of improvement of the regional security situation.
Mark Rutte
© AP / Scanpix

It is NATO that should continue its commitments to the Alliance's Eastern members that fear Russian actions in Ukraine, the head of the Dutch government said after meeting with Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė in Rukla on Friday.

"I think what we are doing here is of great of importance. The deteriorated security situation on Europe's Eastern and also southern flanks shows no sign of improvement, so we have a continued responsibility to fulfill," Rutte said in a joint news conference with Grybauskaitė.

He said that after Russia annexed Crimea and started supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Moscow's foreign policy had become "more and more aggressive in recent years."

Nearly 300 passengers, mainly Dutch citizens, were killed when an airliner en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down above Ukraine later that year.

In response to Russia's actions, NATO stationed an international battalion in each of the Baltic states and Poland earlier this year. The German-led NATO unit currently includes about 250 Dutch troops.

The Dutch prime minister is in Lithuania less than a month before of the Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2017 is held close to Lithuania's borders.

"The exercise has a huge impact in scale. It is very big, very huge. (…) Being of this size, it only underlines the need for NATO to be present here and to help our Lithuanian partners," said Rutte.

Grybauskaitė emphasized that the September exercise was aggressive and aimed against the West, adding that Lithuania would send its officials to observe the training, with an invitation received from Belarus.

To deter Russia, a battalion of US troops should be stationed in the Baltic states during the exercise. Furthermore, US aviators planned to take over the NATO-sanctioned Baltic air-policing mission in Siauliai next month plan to bring eight F-15 fighter-jets instead of the usual four.

The United States should also station a few warships in the Baltic Sea.

Prosecutors: Ambassador to Russia might have committed official misconduct

Lithuanian prosecutors have changed the status of the country's Ambassador to Russia Remigijus...

Police launches probe into journalist Cerniauskas' actions

Lithuania's police has launched a pre-trial investigation into the actions of journalist Sarunas...

Foreign Minister: due to Russia's violations of international law a crisis point in reached

On 16-17 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended a session...

Opposition say won't dance to Karbauskis' tune

Statements by Ramunas Karbauskis , leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), about...

Grybauskaite to attend Ukrainian President’s inauguration

President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving for Kyiv on Monday, May 20, to attend the inauguration of...