On June 16 Chief of Defence Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys met with Vice Admiral Eugene H. Black, Commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet and the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKEFORNATO). Ambassador of the United States to Lithuania HE Robert S. Gilchrist was also present.
The meeting addressed regional security situation, aspects of defence planning, future exercises and potential assistance in the efforts to develop airport security capabilities.
“The support of the United States and NATO to Lithuania is a strong and clear message of deterrence and stronger Lithuania’s defence. I am delighted and grateful for the practical advantage we get from mutual training, sharing experience, and building capabilities,” said Lt Gen V. Rupšys at the meeting.
Vice Admiral Eugene H. Black praised Lithuania’s big and purposeful aspirations and ambitions. “Lithuania adds significant capabilities, expertise and leadership to NATO. My meeting with Chief of Defence is a gesture of consolidation of cooperation which is already excellently ensured by our troops in the ongoing exercise.”
Vice Admiral praised the progress made in developing the maritime surveillance system. The United States has financed a significant part of the project.
“We have set clear plans for the Navy development, it will focus on the regional maritime situational awareness and development of a mine neutralization capability. We expect to eventually be able to exchange recognized sea picture with the Baltic states, Poland and the U.S.,” Chief of Defence said.
Vice Admiral Eugene H. Black is visiting Exercise BALTOPS in Lithuania. It is the 50 edition of the largest NATO maritime exercise, the basis of interoperability among the allies. This year exercise has bound together 18 countries with over 40 ships, 60 aircraft, and 4 thousand personnel.
The U.S. 6th Fleet Headquarters is based in Naples. The unit conducts full spectrum of combined and maritime operations on its own or in cooperation with the allies.
Spokesperson for the Chief of Defence of Lithuania Capt Rūta Montvilė
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