US military establishes permanent presence in Lithuania

The news that NATO is gradually expanding its presence in the Baltic states has become commonplace and comes as no surprise. The territory of these countries is used as a military outpost against Russia.

The allies, and the United States in particular, are preparing to further strengthen their military presence in Lithuania. Washington will change the status of US forces in Lithuania to a “persistent rotational presence”, the US embassy in Vilnius said on 7 December.

“In Lithuania, this initially includes transitioning from episodic deployments of an armoured battalion-sized element and a field artillery battery to a persistent rotational presence,” the statement added.

The US battalion has been deployed at the Pabradė training area near Vilnius since 2019, with varying periods of time between rotations.

The Vilnius government sees this presence as protection against possible military aggression and its dependence on foreign aid has increased considerably. Lithuania is doing its best to create the necessary infrastructure for the deployment and is wasting a lot of money. Recently, it was reported that the country was going to significantly increase defence spending in the draft budget law for 2023.

In early December, the Chief of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, Valdemaras Rupšys, stated that US soldiers were satisfied with conditions in Lithuania, but that there were plans to improve them further.

Especially since the NATO Supply and Support Agency cooperates with the Ministry of National Defence on numerous projects for modernisation of the armed forces, infrastructure for Lithuanian and allied forces, and procurement of military equipment and armaments.

In September, a project to develop a permanent logistics support area in Rukla will be launched to ensure good conditions of service for the NATO Reinforced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group.

The project includes the construction of a maintenance facility, administrative units, a service and maintenance facility, warehouses and other logistics buildings. The Lithuanian side has already cleared the land, demolished the buildings, prepared the soil and the Ruklele stream bed. The road network will be rehabilitated, new plumbing facilities, a solar photovoltaic power plant for the needs of the permanent logistic support area, as well as physical and electronic security systems will be built.

All these actions go against the interests of the local population. Traditional agricultural lands, as well as forested areas and pastures, are being transformed into military training camps. These territories become inaccessible to the local population.

It may happen that Lithuania no longer needs to defend its territory because it no longer belongs to it.

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