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In a significant display of unity, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anaszauskas convened at the NATO border. This meeting aimed to bolster their nations’ defense ties in light of ongoing hybrid threats originating from Belarus.
Błaszczak highlighted the exceptional location of the meeting, where the borders of Poland and Belarus intersect with those of Lithuania and Belarus, and a short distance away, the Polish-Lithuanian border. He underlined both the enduring friendship between Poland and Lithuania and the challenges posed by hybrid attacks emanating from Belarus.
Cooperative Defense Efforts
The defense cooperation between Poland and Lithuania has been characterized by a close working relationship. Poland’s military has been conducting Air Policing missions over Lithuania and other Baltic states since December. Both countries have also engaged in joint military exercises, with a willingness to consider further recommendations from Lithuania.
Błaszczak stressed the geopolitical significance of the Polish-Lithuanian border, situated between Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. He highlighted the strength that comes from close collaboration between nations facing threats to their independence.
Optimism Amid Challenges
The Polish Defense Minister expressed his optimism regarding the NATO Summit in Vilnius, which brought about a notable shift in the Alliance’s approach to Russian threats. Poland and Lithuania are committed to implementing the decisions made during the summit and remain open to Lithuanian proposals aimed at further enhancing their military ties, which ultimately serve as a deterrent to potential aggressors.
Błaszczak acknowledged the challenges faced by Polish soldiers and border guards, who have come under scrutiny and criticism from various quarters. However, he reaffirmed the unwavering support of the Polish people for their military forces, emphasizing the nation’s strong commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty.
The meeting at the NATO border underlined the shared commitment of Poland and Lithuania to bolster their defense capabilities and respond to hybrid threats. Their cooperation serves as a vital component of NATO’s efforts to ensure the security and stability of the Baltic region.