Ahead of the exercises, which are set to last until July 22, the US deployed its Patriot missile system to Lithuania for the first time, as part of the two-week NATO drills.
On Thursday, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, who visited the site of the drill, told reporters that NATO should permanently deploy Patriot missile defense systems in the Baltics.
"It would be really meaningful to have such weapons in the Baltic region. It would ensure greater security for all our countries," Dalia Grybauskaite said.
The President emphasized that air defense is key for national defense. Long-term solutions are critical for the security of the Baltic countries. NATO defense plans should include specific air defense measures to prevent the possible military isolation of the Baltic States. If threats arise, NATO’s air policing mission must become an integral part of the air defense.
"These drills are just a show of force on Russia's borders. Time and again, the US is bringing its Patriot systems to all parts of the world, showcasing its advantages. The system however is far from being highly advantageous. Taking into account that it has not been modernized for a long while, it does not comply with the demands of modern warfare, especially with the demands in the fight against modern aerial firepower," Golovatyuk explained to Sputnik.
He further said that Lithuania does not need Patriot systems from a military point of view. President Grybauskaite however is trying to solve Lithuania's economic problems.
However they will be reimbursed for the deployment of Patriot systems. Besides, the deployment will create jobs for the local residents: the US base will need service personnel, the analyst said.
To confirm the above idea, Dalia Grybauskaite said that Lithuania has all the required infrastructure and military capacity to host allied air defense forces. Lithuania can provide command, control and coordination to air defense units. It will host the multinational exercise Tobruq Legacy in 2020.