Russia keep stepping up its military presence in Eastern Europe and will proceed with the plans regardless of what NATO does, says Artūras Paulauskas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliament's National Security and Defence Committee.

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On Monday, the parliamentary committee discussed the results of the NATO Summit that was held in Warsaw earlier in July. The summit confirmed deployment of international battalions in each of the three Baltic states and Poland, each including about 1,000 troops. The NATO decisions drew a critical response from Russia, saying they meant reverting back to the Cold War era.

Speaking to journalists after the closed meeting, Paulauskas said that Russia would concentrate its military capacities in the Kaliningrad region between Lithuania and Poland, regardless of the actions taken by the Alliance.

"We are definitely not participating in the (arms) race and are not doing more. Russia has been consistently building and modernizing its forces since 2000, Iskander systems were reported to have been deployed in Kaliningrad 7-8 years ago. The message has been repeated – if a battalion is stationed here, there will be Iskander. Russia has a consistent plan and is working on it, we are responding by boosting our contingency, while Russians will do their actions, whether we do something or not," said the head of the committee.

The formation of the NATO battalion in Lithuania will be headed by Germany, countries of the Benelux, Norway and France will also contribute, the battalion in Latvia will be headed by Canada, the United Kingdom will head the battalion in Estonia and the United States in Poland.

BNS
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