President to NATO leaders: in the face of growing threats, deterrence and defense in NATO’s Eastern Flank needs strengthening
President Gitanas Nausėda attends the NATO Summit in Brussels, where leaders of the Alliance discuss effectiveness in countering threats to the Euro-Atlantic space posed by Russia and the NATO 2030 initiative on ways to ensure preparedness for future threats and challenges.
The President of Lithuania began his address to NATO leaders by stressing the importance of transatlantic bond and unity. According to Gitanas Nausėda, NATO is and will remain essential for Euro-Atlantic security and collective defense. Fostering the transatlantic bond between Europe and North America is vital for Lithuania – there are no other alternatives.
“Unity quite often means compromises. We can compromise on many things but not on values and principles on which security in Europe and North America rests, no matter what. It is not only our Duty. It is our Mission,“ – the President said.
Gitanas Nausėda identified Russia as the main long-term threat to NATO. Russia is consciously seeking to disrupt the global order based on the rule of law and democratic values. He also highlighted the worrying rapprochement between the Russian and Belarusian regimes, as well as the accelerating military and political integration of both countries.
“Stronger Russia-Belarus military integration is extremely worrying. It is not a difficult guess which one of them will dominate. Such development would significantly worsen the security environment of the Euro-Atlantic area. It would require adjusting and strengthening of the deterrence and defense posture,” the President stated.
According to Gitanas Nausėda, it is necessary to continue the enhancement of the forward presence readiness, air defense and aim for increased involvement of U.S. forces in the region. “In the face of emerging threats, deterrence and defense must be strengthened in NATO’s Eastern Flank“, – the President underscored.
To achieve these goals, according to the President, NATO needs to speak with one voice on raising collective funding. “Lithuania will continue to increase its contribution to our collective security. Our defense budget, already above two percent of GDP, is projected to reach 2.5 percent by the year 2030,“ Gitanas Nausėda said.
In his address to NATO leaders, the President highlighted the importance of implementing NATO’s Open Door policy. “The Bucharest Summit decision was taken more than a decade ago. It also stays as our promise. Decisions must be implemented. Promises – to be kept,” the President said recalling the need to employ all possible political and practical means to assist Ukraine and Georgia in reaching their aspirations.