DefMin Jukneviciene: Lithuanian army is too small

December 13, 2010 at 1:05 am 1 comment

On the eve of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Day (23 November), Rasa Jukneviciene, Lithuanian Defence Minister and deputy chair of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said that if Lithuania does not increase its defense funding, the country may be unable to perform the duties of a NATO country, Veidas weekly magazine wrote on 22 November.

Veidas – Was the statement an exaggeration? Are the 870 million Litas planned for 2011 not enough to maintain our defense system? These were the first questions we asked the defense minister.

Jukneviciene – The numbers and the real situation speak for themselves. Latvia, Poland, and Estonia can allocate more to defense than Lithuania can right now. This is why my warnings that Lithuania may be unable to perform duties of a NATO country are justified. I would like to remind you that when Lithuania was in the process of joining NATO, it promised that it would be a perfect member of NATO. However, after Lithuania joined NATO, all the promises and efforts vanished for some reason. There is an article in the NATO Treaty, according to which each country, together with the other NATO members, is responsible for the defense of its territory. After Lithuania joined NATO, the people were lulled into believing that Lithuania was safe and that it did not need to do anything, that all we needed to do was to participate in missions, and that we did not need to pay any serious attention to our own defense. NATO’s work is based on certain principles; its strength actually depends on the strength of its members.

Are you saying that Lithuania is not a full-fledged NATO partner and that it is not capable of effectively defending itself or helping the partners?

Read all interview on the Lithuania Tribune
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