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Poland and Lithuania to Strengthen Military Cooperation with Joint Exercises in Suwałki Gap

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Photo: Poland and Lithuania to Strengthen Military Cooperation with Joint Exercises in Suwałki Gap. Source: Gitanas Nauseda's Twitter
Photo: Poland and Lithuania to Strengthen Military Cooperation with Joint Exercises in Suwałki Gap. Source: Gitanas Nauseda's Twitter

On Sunday, January 21, Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Lithuania and met with his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda. The presidents discussed cooperation, regional security, and support for Ukraine. One of the main topics was the reinforcement of military cooperation, particularly the defence of the strategically important Suwałki Gap, as reported by Delfi.

Following the negotiations, the presidents announced that in April, both countries would conduct joint military exercises to practice repelling potential Russian aggression in the region.

"I am very pleased that the President of Poland responded to the desire to conduct joint exercises in the so-called Suwałki Gap. We are already talking about a very specific date, possibly in April. However, let's not forget that the Suwałki Gap is also a component of NATO's strategic plans, and this is certainly not just about the Suwałki Gap and its defence," stated Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

In turn, Polish President Andrzej Duda emphasized that his country takes the defence of the Suwałki Gap seriously and has already taken measures in this direction.

"We are restoring the defence capabilities of Poland, especially in the eastern part of our country. New units are being created there. We are strengthening Polish military presence, we are enhancing border security," said the Polish president.

Recall that the Suwałki Gap is a territory on the border between Lithuania and Poland, 100 kilometres wide. On the west, it borders the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia, and on the east, it borders Belarus. In the event of a potential war, Russia strategically aims to quickly capture the Suwałki Gap to cut off the land route for NATO allies to the Baltic countries.

Concerns about the security of this gap had been raised by Lithuania and Poland long before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. For example, in 2019, these countries agreed to strengthen the defence of this crucial region. In July 2022, Presidents Duda and Nauseda jointly visited the Suwałki Gap, inspecting deployed military units and discussing regional defence issues.

It is worth noting that The Gaze reported that Poland joined the G7 declaration on security guarantees for Ukraine and appointed a representative for the country's recovery.

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