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Reuters: Vilnius Security Stepped Up Ahead of Nato Summit Near Russia and Belarus

NATO leadership ordered to strengthen security measures in Vilnius on the eve of the summit of the North Atlantic Alliance, which will be held in the capital of Lithuania on July 11-12, writes Reuters . The agency notes that NATO’s desire to turn Vilnius “into a real fortress” is due to the fact that the event will be held just over 30 km from the border of Lithuania with Belarus and 150 km from the Kaliningrad region of Russia.

16 NATO members have sent about a thousand military personnel to ensure the security of the summit, who will work together with local forces, the agency writes. In addition, participants will provide the Baltic countries with additional airspace protection by sending advanced air defense systems.

According to Reuters, Germany sent 12 Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems to Lithuania, Spain – NASAMS short and medium-range air defense systems, France – Caesar howitzers, and, together with Finland and Denmark, temporarily deployed part of military aviation in the country. Poland and Germany sent special response units with combat helicopters to Lithuania, while the UK and France sent anti-drone equipment.

Reuters notes that eight German Patriot complexes are located near the Vilnius airport and are directed towards the Kaliningrad region, two more towards Belarus. All installations are on alert. Residents of Vilnius were advised to leave the city for the duration of the summit due to road closures.

The NATO summit scheduled for July 11-12 is the fourth since the beginning of the Russian special operation in Ukraine. Previously, members of the alliance held it once every two years. On the first day, a meeting of heads of state is planned, as well as a public forum dedicated to the work of the alliance. On the second day, a meeting of heads of state and government will take place.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to attend the summit. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the approval of a multi-year support package for Ukraine in Vilnius, which will bring it closer to joining the alliance.

Source : Kommersant