Euronews reporter Hans von der Brelie met Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas in the capital Vilnius to have an Insiders chat about the ongoing changes in the field of European security. NATO partners share growing concerns that Russia may relaunch a nuclear arms race: “I cannot exclude that tactical nuclear weapons already exist in the Kaliningrad region”, Olekas told Euronews.
Asked if Lithuania perceives the Russian Federation as a potential threat for national and European security, Olekas replied: “The aggression in Ukraine, their very aggressive behaviour over the Baltic Sea, their snap exercises around our borders… There is a will and a rhetoric that they can use their military forces, to solve, as they say, ‘their problems’ around their borders and outside their borders. The NATO enhanced forward presence (in the Baltic States and Poland), I think, is a very good initiative to stop Russian aggression.”
Juozas Olekas was born in Siberia – where the Soviets deported his parents. As defence minister of Lithuania, he abolished conscription in 2008 – and reintroduced it in 2015.