NATO's Baltic air policing mission is being downsized alongside reinforcements in other security elements in the Baltic region and therefore is not significant, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

"I would like to draw attention to the fact that eight fighter jets will remain in the Baltic states and that's twice as many as we had before the Ukrainian crisis. So we retain the double air policing mission. Poland will handle things on its own, so that downsizing is not that significant," the president said in an interview with the national radio LRT on Thursday.

According to Grybauskaitė, Lithuania and other Baltic states still enjoy NATO allies' major attention and that is evidenced by decisions to establish NATO headquarters in the Baltic states and also deploy US heavy weaponry.

The president also added that the scope and intensity of NATO military exercises in the region is "unprecedented".

"We need to look into the security situation on the whole, and I think there's no need for us to react to the downsizing of the air policing mission that much. These are decisions that are made by taking into account all security bolstering elements in the region," the Lithuanian leader said.

NATO will downsize the air policing mission in the Baltic states by half, with eight fighter-jets due to patrol the skies as of September, as compared to the current 16 jets, as well as one contingent left in Lithuania instead of the current two, NATO military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jay Janzen of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) confirmed on Tuesday.

Since the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the air policing mission was usually performed by four jets stationed in Lithuania. After Russia annexed Crimean peninsula from Ukraine last year, NATO Allies sent additional jets to the three countries.

It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.

Presidential candidates' teams trade accusations over campaign funding

The staffs of Ingrida Simonyte and Gitanas Nauseda , the two candidates vying to be elected...

Baltic countries and US agrees on cooperation format for energy security

President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with the Presidents of Latvia and Estonia met with the U.S....

Lithuanian experts: Zelensky calls snap election to avoid "sticks in his wheels"

Ukraine 's new President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called a snap parliamentary election to give...

Early voting in presidential runoff, EP election starts

Early voting in the presidential runoff and the European Parliament election started in Lithuania...

Prosecutors: Ambassador to Russia might have committed official misconduct

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