AP Interview: Lithuania confident of US commitment to NATO
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BRUSSELS — Lithuania's
Raimundas Karoblis told The Associated Press that he had no doubts about "the solidarity from any NATO country, including the United States."
U.S. President Donald Trump sparked anxiety at NATO with his election campaign suggestion that he might not help defend countries that don't pay their fair share.
Karoblis said the deployment of NATO troops to Lithuania, which borders Russia's Kaliningrad territory, is "a really powerful measure of the deterrence" the allies are providing.
He said that any "potential invader" of Lithuania and its Baltic
Karoblis said Lithuania is on target to meet the spending benchmark soon.
"Next year without any doubt we will reach two
Lithuania has been spurred to boost its military budget by Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and its continued support for separatists in Ukraine. Karoblis said Russia is also responsible for hostile propaganda aimed at destabilizing his country — which has a large Russian speaking minority — and is raising concerns by moving nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad.
"The security situation around Lithuania is quite tense," he said. "Sometimes it is difficult to predict the actions of Russia, but we are preparing ourselves for
NATO allies, including the United States, are currently deploying around 4,000 troops to the Baltic States and Poland in an effort to deter an increasingly aggressive Russia.
But Karoblis warned that it's not just Lithuania and its
"We are speaking here about the possible test of all NATO," he said.