The Baltic states continue to be one of the most militarized region in Europe.
The planned reduction of American troops in Germany to 25,000 could increase the likelihood of further strengthening of relations between the Baltic states and the United States. Gradually, the Baltic states become Washington’s most reliable partners in the process of escalating tensions in eastern Europe.
In particular, Lithuania keeps up politics of militarization of the country. According to the Lithuanian Defence Ministry plans, the Land Forces intend to build up the amount of ammunition depots with required infrastructure until 2026.
Among them: Alytus (Grand Duchess Birute Uhlan Battalion of Mechanized Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”) – 1 warehouse; Kairiai (Arms Depot) – 1 warehouse; Linkaičiai (Сentral Arsenal) – 14 warehouses; Panevėžys (King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion of Mechanized Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”) – 1 warehouses; Rukla (Mechanized Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”, NATO eFP, Gaiziunai Training Area) – 8 warehouses.
In general, it gives the possibility to store almost 1100 tons of ammunition.
As a result, the current NATO and U.S. security policy in the Baltic region leads to increasing military capabilities in Lithuania. A high concentration of weapons and ammunition can be a source of military threat in case of political tension or worsening of the international situation.
Lately there has been a lot of discussion about an increase in defense spending. In 2018 the political parties represented in the Seimas (except the Social Democrats) signed a controversial agreement on the guidelines of Lithuania’s defense policy to achieve defense spending to 2.5 % of GDP.
Populist desire to demonstrate “who loves the Homeland more” and “we are the most reliable partners of the USA” tends to take over wisdom. Paying attention to military security issues and increasing defense budget to 1.117 mln. The US authority forgets to notice the chronic illnesses of Lithuania such as poverty, inequality, social exclusion, education and health systems’ problems, and actually demographic challenges.
*Kasparas Jankauskas is a political journalist.