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Lithuania to boost defense spending due to Ukraine crisis

/ 10:23 PM February 21, 2022
Photo of Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, for story: Lithuania to boost defense spending due to Ukraine crisis

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, on Feb. 8, 2022. (REUTERS/Tom Nicholson)

VILNIUS — The Lithuanian government plans to increase military spending as it looks to beef up its defenses amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Monday.

Washington and Moscow on Monday played down hopes of a breakthrough in Europe’s biggest military crisis in decades, and satellite imagery appeared to show Russian deployments closer to Ukraine’s border than before.

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“As the situation in the region is getting worse… I have asked the defense minister and chief of defense to see possibilities to speed up planned defense purchases…,” Simonyte said in a statement.

“Under the circumstances, financing the defense of the country is the government’s priority.”

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Lithuania has budgeted €1.2 billion ($1.36 billion), or 2.05% of GDP, on defense this year. Any increase would need Cabinet and parliamentary approval.

NATO, to which Lithuania belongs, recommends that member states spend at least 2% of GDP on defense.

($1 = €0.8817)

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TAGS: Ingrid Simonyte, Lithuania defense, Russia-Ukraine tension
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