Vilnius is Turning Into a Fortress in Anticipation of the Upcoming NATO Summit
Sixteen NATO member states have agreed to send the best examples of modern weapons, including combat aircraft and air defence systems, to the Lithuanian capital.
This was reported by Reuters.
The North Atlantic Alliance is arming Lithuania for the upcoming summit, which will begin tomorrow, 11 July, in Vilnius.
Thus, Spain announced the relocation of its own NASAMS air defence systems to Vilnius. France has deployed Cesar self-propelled howitzers in Lithuania and, together with Finland and Denmark, has provided state-of-the-art military aircraft to protect the summit. At the same time, London deployed anti-drone assets to NATO's eastern borders.
Poland is deploying its special operations helicopters to Lithuania, while other NATO members are providing Vilnius with equipment to counter potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
"It would be more than irresponsible to leave our skies unprotected when Biden and the leaders of 40 countries come," said Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.
In total, more than 3,000 members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and about 1,000 more troops sent by North Atlantic Alliance members will be guarding the historic summit in Vilnius.
Such unprecedented security measures are related to the close proximity of Vilnius, the city of the Summit, to the borders with the aggressor country Russia and the complicit in the war unleashed by the Kremlin, Belarus. Lithuania has 303 kilometres of common border with Russia's Kaliningrad region and 724 kilometres of border with Belarus.
The security outlook for the Summit has been sharpened by the recent unsuccessful rebellion inside the Russian Federation led by the head of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who marched from Rostov, Russia, to Moscow Oblast, seizing military facilities in various Russian cities along the way.
As a result, Prigozhin's rebellion was stopped on the outskirts of Moscow after Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko held talks with him, which resulted in the deployment of the Wagner troops and their leader to Belarus.
The day before, Lithuania tripled the number of border guards on the Belarusian and Russian borders. Officers from Latvia were joined by colleagues from Poland. Additional forces were allocated to patrol Vilnius.
"We are preparing for various provocations," said Rustamas Liubajevas, head of the Border Guard Service, adding that he fears waves of migrants, border violations or the appearance of military equipment without explanation.
Earlier it was reported that the presence of NATO warships in the Baltic Sea had been increased ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius.
The NATO summit, which begins tomorrow in Vilnius, is being called historic because of the global security challenges it is taking place against.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky expects a clear signal from partners on Ukraine's membership in the Alliance.
22 NATO member states and Sweden have already reaffirmed their support for Ukraine's accession to the North Atlantic security bloc.