Re-elected Lithuanian President calls for higher military spending

by IANS |

Vilnius, May 27 (IANS/DPA) Lithuania's newly re-elected President Gitanas Nauseda on Monday called for a further increase in the Baltic country's military spending.

"I think we should aim for at least 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the coming years," said Nauseda at a press conference in Vilnius.

Nauseda, who secured a second five-year term with a landslide win in a run-off election on Sunday, said the modernisation of the Lithuanian army, the implementation of universal conscription, and the stationing of a German brigade in Lithuania would require extra financial resources.

Vilnius currently spends 2.7 per cent of its GDP on the military, with the figure set to reach three per cent in 2025 under proposals submitted last week by the Finance Ministry.

"In my opinion, this is insufficient," said Nauseda, who has repeatedly called on other NATO states to increase military spending.

In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the German government pledged to permanently station a combat-ready brigade of up to 5,000 German soldiers in Lithuania.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Laurynas Kasciunas has said the German force could cost the country €800 million ($870 million) in the coming years.

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