VILNIUS, Jul 31, BNS – The United States may station seven fighter-jets in Lithuania for the time of the large-scale Russian-Belarusian war games Zapad 2017 this fall, President Dalia Grybauskaite said in Tallinn on Monday.
“We expect as many as seven jets, almost double in the nearest future,” Grybauskaite told Lithuanian journalists during the meeting of her Baltic counterparts with US Vice-President Mike Pence in the Estonian capital.
US fighter-jets should arrive in Lithuania in late August or early September for the NATO air-policing mission.
The NATO air-policing mission is currently conducted from Lithuania and Estonia by four fighter-jets in each country.
Grybauskaite said the Baltic states were happy with the US guarantees that go beyond words.
In her words, more US troops and equipment will be deployed in Lithuania during Zapad 2017.
Officials in Lithuania are mainly concerned over the actual number of troops involved in the exercise and the scenario or training.
The US already increased the presence of its air-policing jets in Lithuania in early 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.