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Lithuanian president: NATO should set up permanent bases at Russian border

by Martin Fornusek July 11, 2023 11:32 AM 2 min read
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda at the NATO summit in Vilnius, July 11, 2023. (Source: President Gitanas Nausėda/Twitter)
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NATO should establish permanent military bases near the Russian border, abandoning its pledge from 1997, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda told The Times on July 11.

Based on the agreement between NATO and Russia in 1997, the Alliance pledged not to deploy nuclear weapons or permanent military bases on the territory of the newly joined countries of the former eastern bloc.

While there are international NATO troops stationed in nine countries like Poland and the Baltic states, they are deployed strictly on a rotational basis.

According to Nausėda, Russia has effectively killed this treaty by the announcement to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.

While casting doubt on Vladimir Putin's claim that the nuclear weapons have already been stationed at Lithuania's eastern neighbor, Nausėda nevertheless pointed out that the infrastructure is already in place and the warheads are likely soon to follow.

"Also I would like to say that I think more and more allies understand that Putin is a gambler and all the threats he makes are not because he's strong, but because he feels weak," the president added, referencing the recent armed insurrection by the Wagner Group on June 23-24.

Editorial: A smart NATO would seek Ukraine’s accession
Editor’s note: Editorials are articles that present the opinion of the editorial team of the Kyiv Independent. When one looks at the history of the West supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia, one pattern shines through: missed opportunities. The whole war is ripe with opportunity for NATO…

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin signed an agreement on placing Russian tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory on May 25. Shoigu reportedly said that control over the weaponry would remain with Moscow.

On June 14, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko claimed that his country had already received the first weapons shipment from Russia. This was reiterated by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on June 16.

Ukraine's military intelligence refuted these claims on June 20, saying that not "a single nuclear warhead" has been delivered so far.

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