A decision to conduct military exercises previously planned as part of Defender-Europe 20 was taken by Lithuania's State Defense Council at its meeting on March 13. The Council involves the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Seimas, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence. The Council is chaired by the president.
In accordance with the decision, Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis appealed to the US Army command not to cease linked-to Defender-Europe 20 exercises on the territory of Lithuania: Joint Warfighting Assessment, Saber Strike and Swift Response exercises with the participation of arriving U.S. troops and Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Minister underlined that according to the situation, the value of these military events significantly exceeds the possible risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 among military personnel and the local population.
"In this regard, on March 15, a decision was made not to prohibit the movement of NATO soldiers across Lithuania," said Minister of Defence on Tuesday.
In addition, in order to prevent panic among the population, it was decided not to provide the media with information about the movements of American troops and military equipment across Lithuania.