The Road To War: NATO ships arrive in Lithuania amid rising tensions over Ukraine
by The Daily Lede
A group of NATO ships has arrived in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda to “ensure regional security,” the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense has said. Russia has already voiced its concern over the “unprecedented” buildup of NATO forces in the region.
The group is composed of 4 minesweeping ships from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia as well as one supply vessel. The ships will take part in intensive military drills, stopping off at various ports in the region. They will also participate in operation “Open Sprit” deactivating underwater explosives.
The Lithuanian Minister of Defense Juozas Olekas said in a statement the drills will “ensure our national and regional security and collective defense.”
The contingent of ships is not the only NATO force to have been deployed in the region recently. Last week, the United States announced the deployment of 600 soldiers who will participate in military drills in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to show solidarity with NATO members that border Russia.
In addition, Britain and France have sent 8 fighter jets to Poland and Lithuania to step up aerial patrol in the region. As well as the increased aerial presence, NATO has also deployed ships in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and East Mediterranean.