Lithuania: President Cites Russia Threat in Election Race | Bloomberg

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite used the last debate before for the May 11 election to focus on Russia’s expansionism, which is fueling concern in the Baltic countries. Grybauskaite said she used “fierce” rhetoric to persuade NATO partners to boost the alliance’s military presence in the region that regained independence as the Soviet Union collapsed more than two decades ago. Conversations with U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden helped add warplanes for air patrols and surveillance and about 150 U.S. paratroopers for exercises in Lithuania, she said. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is upgrading contingency plans, holding military drills in eastern Europe and stepping up air and naval policing on its flanks as President Vladimir Putin masses troops on Ukraine’s border. The newest members that joined in the past decade are pushing for permanent NATO bases in the region.

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