US Deploys Advanced Anti-Aircraft Missiles in Baltics for First Time

Lithuania Praises Move as Proof of US 'Commitment'

Lithuania’s Defense Ministry has made a surprise announcement today that the United States has deployed an unspecified number of Patriot missile batteries into Lithuania, nominally for a military drill that is ongoing for the next two weeks.

This marks the first time such advanced US anti-aircraft weapons have been deployed into one of the Baltic states, and the deployment is expected to last beyond the current exercise, with Lithuanian officials saying it proves the US military commitment to them.

Lithuanian officials have the impression the missiles would be there at least through Russia’s own military exercises in the region in September, which are expected to be held near the NATO border regions, and which Lithuanian officials have been hyping as a “threat.”

The move comes just days after neighboring Poland reached a deal to buy $7.6 billion worth of Patriot missiles as well. Lithuanian officials say that air defense is a major hole for them in their current military buildup, and that the US deployment helps solve that.

The US and other western NATO powers have been positioning large numbers of troops throughout the Baltics as a “spearhead” force against Russia. The Baltic states, only too eager to host this force, have been hyping the “imminent” threat posed by Russia for the last several years, and making false predictions of an imminent Russian invasion of Eastern Europe.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.