: Lithuania mulls doubling its contribution to NATO Response Force

13:17 Apr. 6, 2016

Lithuania mulls doubling its contribution to NATO Response Force

Lithuanian soldiers stand during a military exercise 'Iron Sword 2014' at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade some 60km.(38 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Nov. 13, 2014 (AP)

Initiative has been submitted to the Lithuanian parliament

Defence ministry of Lithuania has proposed to double its contribution to NATO Response Force, starting next year.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas has introduced the initiative to the Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday, April 6.

The minister said the decision was needed to respond to the global security threats:

"Today we're asking the Seimas to approve that in 2017 we could send up to 507 troops and 455 troops in 2018," Olekas told Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT.

Watch also NATO training in Ukraine deepens defence cooperation

Currently, Lithuania's contribution to NATO Response Force consists of 200 infantry troops.

Next year, Lithuanian plans to assign to NATO response force its troops from naval, special operations and land forces, as well as personnel from logistics unit and military police, local media reports.

Lithuania, as well as other Baltic states, has stepped up its defence capabilities since 2014, after Russia sent its troops to seize Ukrainian military bases and infrastructure objects in Crimea.

Watch also Headquarters of the joint Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade opens in Lublin

Russia's on-going aggression in eastern Ukraine has pushed NATO to increase its presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics, fearing that they could be the next target of the Kremlin's aggression.

Lithuania has been providing rotations for the NATO Response Force since 2005.

Reporting by Xinhua

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