Lithuania wants the regular deployment
of both long-range and short-range advanced anti-air and missile assets in its country to allow for more regular training with NATO, Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis has said. “Yes, of course (we are asking the Americans)”, he told Reuters on Thursday. “We are talking not only about the Patriots
but also other capabilities, such as short-range Avengers
, and other systems to create a regional architecture of air defence, because we are not able to do that ourselves.” While Karoblis did not expect NATO to increase defences in the Baltics immediately, he does expect the alliance to show greater commitment at a NATO leaders summit in July to deterring any threat in the Baltics. “We would like to have the permanent deployment of ground missile systems and other capabilities, but we understand that a quite significant part of these capabilities were lost by NATO after the Cold War and it’s difficult to rebuild them fast”, he said. “We need to ensure that (air defences) could be deployed (in the Baltics) at any time necessary.” Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Lithuania—along with neighboring Estonia and Latvia—have since 1991 realigned themselves by joining NATO and the European Union. Anxious since Russia's annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, the nations have continued to ask for Western help despite growing defence budgets due to their small economies. Poland was equally alarmed by Moscow’s Crieman seizure, spending more than $5 billion on buying Patriot missiles from Raytheon after a deal in March.