- Title: Lithuania wants more U.S. attention as it launches camp for American soldiers
- Date: 30th August 2021
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT, GITANAS NAUSEDA, SAYING: "Unfortunately not all is quiet in our region. Together with other neighbouring NATO countries, Lithuania currently faces a hybrid aggression. Flows of illegal migration, artificially created by the Belarusian regime, are being used to challenge our resources and to try to destabilize the political situation. The final cost of this is human suffering. This highly unusual aggression comes on the time period of the joint Russian and Belarusian exercise Zapad 21. Tension is being deliberately increased where caution and moderation would clearly be the best mode of action. In this light, the continuous U.S. troop presence in Lithuania, ensured by the fourth battalion rotation, is of an utmost importance." OFFICIALS WALKING INTO CAMP SOLDIERS INSIDE CAMP 'HERKUS' SOLDIER OPENING DOOR TO GYM VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS EXERCISING IN GYM LEISURE ROOM VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS STANDING IN LEISURE ROOM ACCOMMODATION CONTAINERS INTERIOR OF ACCOMMODATION CONTAINER NAUSEDA ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Lithuanian) LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT, GITANAS NAUSEDA, SAYING: "We of course want larger attention (from the U.S.), because we see not only events in Afghanistan but also the wider political picture, and it is not getting better in our region. This can be said openly." ACCOMMODATION CONTAINERS SOLDIERS STANDING INSIDE CAMP (SOUNDBITE) (Lithuanian) LITHUANIAN DEFENCE MINISTER, ARVYDAS ANUSAUSKAS, SAYING: "Well, a name (rotational or permanent deployment) does not change much. You can call this a permanent presence as there was no pause between rotations this year. They know our expectations, I talked to senators, they also ask - what do you want from the permanent presence? We expect that the U.S. permanent presence - not rotational but permanent - would help with politics of deterrence, and security situation stabilization in the region." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS US SOLDIERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. AMBASSADOR TO LITHUANIA, ROBERT GILCHRIST, SAYING: "So, there's definitely a strong commitment. The United States has invested hundreds of millions in Lithuania's military capability since 2014 and really that commitment stays strong." ARMED VEHICLE DRIVING BY CAMP SIGN READING "HERKUS" CAMP FOR SOLDIERS
- Embargoed: 13th September 2021 13:59
- Keywords: Herkus camp Lithuania U.S. soldiers deployed in Lithuania United States armed forces
- Location: PABRADE, LITHUANIA
- City: PABRADE, LITHUANIA
- Country: Lithuania
- Topics: Defence,Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003ESH2LVD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called on the United States to pay more attention to his nation's security on Monday (August 30) as Lithuania faces increased migration from Belarus which it claims is created artificially by Minsk.
"We want larger attention because we see not only events in Afghanistan but also the wider political picture, and it is not getting better in our region," Nauseda told reporters as he inaugurated a new camp for U.S. soldiers based in Pabrade.
The camp, named Herkus, was built for 7 million euros (over 8 million dollars) and is fit to house a battalion of 500 soldiers according to Lithuania's Defence Ministry.
Nauseda said that Lithuania and neighbouring NATO allies Poland and Latvia face "a hybrid aggression" in form of migration, which "challenges resources" and "destabilises political situation."
Just over 4,000 people crossed illegally into Lithuania this year, according to the official numbers, compared to 81 in the whole of 2020.
Most of them crossed the border in July, but the flow has almost stopped since Aug. 10 when Lithuania started to turn migrants away. Over 2,000 were denied entry since then.
Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said that the potential permanent presence of the U.S. troops in Pabrade would stabilise the security situation in the Baltics and work as a deterrent.
The United States first began rotational deployment in the country, once ruled from Moscow but now a member of both NATO and the EU, in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea.
Since October 2019, the United States upgraded the rotations to armed battalions with tanks, but Lithuania hopes the rotational presence will eventually become a permanent base.
U.S. ambassador to Lithuania Robert Gilchrist said his country has a "strong commitment" towards the Baltic country as it invested "hundreds of millions" of dollars into its military capability.
(Production: Janis Laizans, Karolina Bohacova)
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