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Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of the United States Army Europe, has applauded Lithuania's plans of earmarking 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to defence next year, emphasizing that the way of spending the money was even more important.
Ben Hodges
Ben Hodges

"First, congratulations, but even more important is how Lithuania intends to spend that. I think modernization is important and (…) you need to invest in people," Hodges told Vilnius journalists after meeting with Lithuania's Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas on Wednesday morning.

In the US general's words, Lithuania could take advantage of the growing defence funding to attract even better specialists to the Armed Forces, starting with professional troops and ending with non-commissioned officers.

Security situation in Lithuania topped the agenda of Hodges' meeting with Lithuanian officials, along with further plans of implementing the NATO deterrence measures in Lithuania, battalion deployment and military training.

The US general hailed the Lithuanian leadership in investing in its own security and contributing to international operations.

On Tuesday, the State Defence Council suggested raising the defense funding to 2.07 percent of the GDP next year.

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