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LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN, April 3, 2024

Apr 13 2024

LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN

 


IN THIS ISSUE:

 

  1. Lithuania records no illegal border crossings from Belarus
  2. Swedish PM visiting Vilnius 
  3. Norway's Crown Prince Haakon visiting Lithuania
  4. Lithuanian foreign minister to attend NATO meeting in Brussels
  5. Lithuanian president calls for EU internal market for defense products, services
  6. European Council chief in Vilnius: EU must do more for Ukraine, including military aid
  7. EU restrictions would prevent Russian vegetables from entering Lithuania – vicemin
  8. Lithuanian prosecutors uphold refusal to probe alleged corruption in defense system 
  9. Lithuanian president expects Norway's contribution to rotational air defense
  10. Lithuanian prosecutors uphold refusal to probe alleged corruption in defense system (expands)
  11. Lithuania's 2023 budget deficit estimated at 1 percent of GDP or less – vicemin
  12. Lithuanian, Swedish PMs discuss regional security, support for Ukraine, cooperation
  13. Lithuanian govt proposes recalling Bajarunas as UK ambassador from mid-April
  14. At least 2 Lithuanian MPs targeted by US-indicted Chinese hackers  - BNS THEME
  15. Rheinmetall's decision on Lithuanian plant expected soon – vice-minister 
  16. First German brigade troops to arrive in Lithuania next week 
  17. Wizzair cancels some flights from Lithuania
  18. Upcoming events in Lithuania for Thursday, April 4, 2024

 


 

Lithuania records no illegal border crossings from Belarus

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Lithuanian border guards have in the past 24 hours recorded no attempts to cross into the country from Belarus illegally, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) said on Wednesday morning.

 

Latvia reported 47 attempts at illegal border crossings on Tuesday, and 227 irregular migrants were not allowed into Poland on Monday, according to the latest available information.

 

Lithuanian border guards have turned away a total of 145 migrants so far this year.

 

A total of 2,643 irregular migrants were barred from entering Lithuania from Belarus at non-designated places last year, down from 11,211 in 2022.

 

The influx of irregular migrants to the EU's eastern member states from Belarus began in 2021 and is blamed by the West on the Minsk regime.

 

Almost 4,200 irregular migrants crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally in 2021. However, the vast majority of them fled Lithuania once they were allowed to move freely.

 

Lithuanian border guards have prevented a total of almost 22,000 people from crossing in from Belarus since August 3, 2021, when they were given the right to turn away irregular migrants. The number includes repeated attempts by the same people to cross the border.

 

 

 

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Swedish PM visiting Vilnius 

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is visiting Vilnius on Wednesday.

 

Kristersson is to meet with his Lithuanian counterpart, Ingrida Simonyte, to discuss regional security and the need to strengthen and accelerate support to Ukraine.

 

The two prime ministers are also expected to discuss Nordic-Baltic cooperation in security, energy, and the protection of critical infrastructure in the Baltic Sea, as well as the promotion of bilateral economic cooperation between Lithuania and Sweden, the government has said.

 

Kristersson has been heading the Swedish government since October 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

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Norway's Crown Prince Haakon visiting Lithuania

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Crown Prince Haakon of Norway is paying a visit to Lithuania on Wednesday.

 

President Gitanas Nauseda will host Haakon at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius to discuss bilateral relations, Norway's contribution to bolstering Lithuania's security, and defense cooperation.

 

The two will later travel to Rukla in the central district of Jonava to meet with Norwegian troops stationed there as part of NATO's multinational forward presence battalion. 

 

Haakon is also to visit the Ukrainian Center in Vilnius, established at the initiative of the First Ladies of Lithuania and Ukraine, and meet with Diana Nausediene. 

 

The Norwegian prince last visited Lithuania in 2018 and met with the then President Dalia Grybauskaite.

 

 

 

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Lithuanian foreign minister to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Lithuania's Gabrielius Landsbergis is taking part in a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday as the military alliance marks its 75th anniversary.

 

NATO's foreign ministers "will discuss preparations for the NATO summit in Washington, D.C., on 9-11 July, allied support for Ukraine, threats posed by Russia, challenges arising from the South, and the Alliance’s engagement in the region", the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

 

Brussels will also host a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, during which Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba "will present the country’s most urgent defensive needs, discuss the situation in the country, allied support and the implementation of priority reforms on Ukraine’s NATO membership path", according to the press release.

 

"A meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Indo-Pacific Partners, including representatives of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea, as well as the European Union, will focus on the security situation in the region and the strengthening of cooperation on hybrid threats, cybersecurity, technology, etc.," it said. 

 

Meetings of the Nordic and Baltic (NB8) foreign ministers and a meeting of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian top diplomats with their German counterpart are also scheduled in Brussels.

 

On Thursday, foreign ministers will attend a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the signing of NATO's founding treaty in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 1949. 

 

Sweden is taking part in the NATO foreign ministers' meeting as a full-fledged member for the first time after formally joining the Alliance on March 7.

 

 

 

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Lithuanian president calls for EU internal market for defense products, services

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Tuesday called on the European Union to establish an internal market for defense products and services and ensure a balanced distribution of defense production capacities across Europe.

 

Nauseda made the remarks after hosting European Council President Charles Michel and leaders from four EU member states in Vilnius for a discussion on the bloc's Strategic Agenda.

 

"The EU needs to create an internal market for defense products and services, rebuild and increase the capacity of the defense industry, and ensure a balanced geographical distribution of production capacities, especially in border countries," the Lithuanian president said in a press release.

 

"We also need to promote joint procurement and bring transatlantic partners and Ukraine into our supply chains," he said.

 

Nauseda said that supporting Ukraine until victory should be at the top of the agenda, as the war in Europe affects all EU sectoral policies and requires additional resources.

 

The president also emphasized the need to complete the process of European unification. 

 

"We need to convene an intergovernmental conference with Ukraine and Moldova and start negotiations on their EU membership as early as this June," he said.

 

On the challenges of migration policy, Nauseda said that the focus should now be on securing the EU's external borders, combating the instrumentalization of migration and working with countries of origin.

 

Discussions on the EU Strategic Agenda will also take place in Warsaw, Rome and Bucharest in April.

 

 

 

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European Council chief in Vilnius: EU must do more for Ukraine, including military aid

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – European Council President Charles Michel sees stepping up support for Ukraine, including military assistance, as a top priority of the EU's next political cycle. 

 

Michel, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and leaders from four other EU member states discussed the priorities of the EU's new political cycle, which will start after the European Parliament elections in June, in Vilnius on Tuesday.  

 

The European Council president described the EU's decisions to grant candidate status to Ukraine and approve a financial aid package for the war-ravaged country as historic.

 

"But this is not enough. We need to do more, including military support for Ukraine," he said.  

 

Michel warned that "we are facing incredible difficulties and challenges" and emphasized that supporting Ukraine and beefing up European defense are among the top priority areas.

 

The official also highlighted the strengthening of Europe's economy and the promotion of democratic principles as priority areas.

 

"We'll never give up. We'll never divert from democratic principles. This is the core of this European project," he said.  

 

Nauseda underlined the importance of continued support for Ukraine and holding Russia accountable for its crimes in Ukraine.

 

The Lithuanian president called for the use of frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine's economy.

 

"This is the most important challenge for all of us: we stay united, we continue to support Ukraine and stay strong as a global force," he said.  

 

 

 

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EU restrictions would prevent Russian vegetables from entering Lithuania – vicemin

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – As Lithuanian vegetable growers claim that cucumbers and tomatoes grown in Russia are entering Lithuania through Belarus and Poland with falsified origin documents, Lithuania's agriculture vice minister says EU restrictions on the entry of such produce would prevent this from happening.

 

"The main problem is to prevent these goods from entering the EU. There is already free movement of goods within the EU and it is more difficult to control it as there are no border controls, so the main task is to restrict the entry of these goods into the common market," Vytenis Tomkus told Lithuania's public radio LRT on Wednesday. 

 

He recalled that in March Lithuania, together with Latvia, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic, called on the European Commission to weigh in the possibility of restricting imports of food products originating in Russia and Belarus.

 

The Lithuanian Greenhouse Association said on Tuesday that Russian-grown vegetables, mainly cucumbers and tomatoes, were entering Lithuania through Belarus and Poland with falsified origin documents, and such produce is sold in Lithuania for prices that are several times lower than local produce or vegetables grown in Poland or Latvia.

 

"Most of the (Russian vegetables - BNS) is coming from Poland with falsified documents, and it is possible that some of our entrepreneurs do not even know that these are vegetables were grown in the Russian Federation as they arrive with Polish documents," Paulius Andriejavas, the association's board chairman, told the LRT radio on Tuesday.

 

Tomkus says there were no direct imports of cucumbers or tomatoes from Russia last year as mainly mushrooms, peas and cereals - mainly maize - were imported from Russia. 

 

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Lithuanian prosecutors uphold refusal to probe alleged corruption in defense system 

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office has upheld the Special Investigation Service's decision to open a pre-trial investigation into alleged corruption in the national defense system.

 

The office said on Wednesday that the decision is lawful and justified.

 

The anti-corruption agency informed the public of its refusal to launch an investigation last Thursday.

 

 

 

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Lithuanian president expects Norway's contribution to rotational air defense

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda expects  Norway to join the implementation of the rotational air defense model.

 

"The rotational air defense model approved at the NATO summit in Vilnius must be implemented. I hope that Norway will contribute to its practical implementation as well," he said on Wednesday during Norway's Crown Prince Haakon's visit in Lithuania.

 

Lithuania has been asking NATO allies for some time to rotate ground-based air defense systems as part of the regional rotational air defense model agreed last year. The Netherlands announced last week that it would send Patriot long-range air defense systems to Lithuania for several weeks.

 

The president also highlighted Lithuanian-Norwegian cooperation in the economic, cultural, security and energy fields.

 

In his words, support for Ukraine remains a top priority and highlighted cooperation in the training of Ukrainian soldiers.

 

Nauseda also thanked Norway for the service of Norwegian troops in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battalion battle roup in Lithuania. "The Norwegian troops in Rukla are a sign of solidarity and commitment to defend each other," he said.

 

"Our countries are committed to democracy, human rights and the rule of law," the Crown Prince said, adding that the relationship between Lithuania and Norway is strengthened by the Lithuanians living in Norway.

 

Later in the day, the Lithuanian president and the Crown Prince will travel to Rukla where Norwegian troops serving in the NATO eFP battalion are stationed.

 

The heir to the Norwegian throne will also visit the Ukrainian Center established at the initiative of the first ladies of Lithuania and Ukraine, and meet with Fist Lady Diana Nausediene.

 

The last time the Norwegian prince visited Lithuania was in 2018 when he met with President Dalia Grybauskaite.

 

By Greta Zulonaitė

 

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Lithuanian prosecutors uphold refusal to probe alleged corruption in defense system (expands)

 

Updated version: updates throughout

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office has upheld the Special Investigation Service's decision to open a pre-trial investigation into alleged corruption in the national defense system.

 

The office said on Wednesday that the decision is lawful and justified.

 

The SIS announced its decision not to launch an investigation last Thursday.

 

"The assessment of the collected data has established that MP Raimundas Lopata's actions when he sent official letters to the ministry, asking about the ongoing public procurement, as well as the actions of a foreign company when it invited representatives of the Ministry of National Defense to meet, do not show any signs of criminal offense," the prosecution service stated, adding that the Defense Ministry properly reacted to and managed the lobbying activities and corruption risks, and there was no reason to report them to pre-trial investigation authorities.

 

"This decision does not prevent pre-trial investigation institutions or the prosecution service from launching a pre-trial investigation upon receipt of specific information about possible corruption offenses," the prosecution service added.

 

The SIS started looking into the circumstances following public remarks by Arvydas Anusauskas, who stepped down as defense minister in mid-March, about alleged attempts to bribe national defense system employees and pressure related to public procurement.

 

Anusauskas said after handing in his resignation that he "had to close the door to companies" that tried to bribe national defense employees, adding that these companies "found their way into the Seimas".

 

Anusauskas later tried to soften his tone, saying that he was raising the issue of undeclared meetings between politicians and lobbyists.

 

When gathering additional information, the SIS questioned Anusauskas and his successor, Laurynas Kasciunas, former Deputy Defense Minister Vilius Semeska, Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite, and liberal MP Lopata.

 

Due to this situation, the work of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense is currently suspended as the absence of opposition representatives prevents the committee from electing a new chair. The position became vacant after ex-CNSD chairman Kasciunas was apointed defense minister.

 

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Lithuania's 2023 budget deficit estimated at 1 percent of GDP or less – vicemin

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS - The real 2023 government deficit is estimated at 1 percent GDP or less, Finance Vice Minister Mindaugas Liutvinskas says.

 

"Based on the Finance Ministry's calculations, we can see that the balance will definitely be significantly better than what was foreseen in the law, and it will definitely be lower than minus 4.9 percent (deficit – BNS). It is likely to be around minus one, slightly less," Liutvinskas told the Seimas Committee on Audit on Wednesday. 

 

The approved 2023 budget includes a 4.9 percent of GDP government deficit, but it was forecast last October to reach 1.9 percent in real terms. 

 

Lithuania's State Data Agency is scheduled to publish last year's deficit and debt figures on Friday. 

 

This year's budget deficit is expected to reach 3 percent of GDP, in line with the Maastricht criterion.

 

Editor: Roma Pakėnienė

 

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Lithuanian, Swedish PMs discuss regional security, support for Ukraine, cooperation

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte met with her Swedish Ulf Kristersson in Vilnius on Wednesday and discussed regional security, the need to strengthen and accelerate support to Ukraine, Nordic-Baltic cooperation in the areas of security, energy, and protection of critical infrastructure in the Baltic Sea, as well as the promotion of bilateral economic cooperation between Lithuania and Sweden.

 

Russia's actions clearly show that it remains a long-term threat, the Prime Minister stressed, which is why the NATO Allies' focus on strengthening collective defense and increased investment in defense must be an immediate priority, Simonyte underlined, according to the statement released by the government's press service.

 

"It is very important that we, all the countries backing Ukraine and its struggle for freedom, strengthen and expand our support - there is no better way to stop Russia, which continues to wage war and to aggression against the West," the Lithuanian prime minister said.

 

Lithuania and Sweden enjoy an active and dynamic economic relationship, but there is still significant untapped potential in innovative high-tech sectors. Improving the conditions for cooperation and business partnerships in these areas is one of the governments' objectives, the statement said.

 

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Lithuanian govt proposes recalling Bajarunas as UK ambassador from mid-April

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – The Lithuanian government has proposed to President Gitanas Nauseda to recall Eitvydas Bajarunas as the country's ambassador to the United Kingdom from mid-April after he was recalled to Vilnius for consultations five months ago because of irregularities and inadequate management.

 

Ministers backed the move on Wednesday, and now the president is expected to decide on the matter. If he approves the proposal, Bajarunas will be recalled from April 15.

 

Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said earlier that such a decision had already been agreed with Nauseda.

 

Last year, Bajarunas was accused of mobbing and abuse of office by embassy staff. Following an investigation, the Foreign Ministry's General Inspectorate found irregularities and proposed deciding on Bajarunas' suitability to head the embassy

 

In October, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis summoned the diplomat to Vilnius for consultations and urged him to resign. However, the ambassador rejected all accusations.

 

For its part, the presidential office questioned the Foreign Ministry's investigation and argued that an independent investigation should be carried out into the ambassador's conduct.

 

Bajarunas' situation was further aggravated by the conclusion of the Chief Official Ethics Commission in January that President Gitanas Nauseda and the ambassador's attendance of The Phantom of the Opera musical in London in spring 2023 was of a private nature, but was paid for by the embassy, therefore, both officials were found to have broken the law, which they disagreed.

 

Moreover, the government is proposing recalling Lina Viltrakiene as Lithuania's permanent representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development as of May 9. And Nerijus Aleksiejunas should be recalled as Lithuania's ambassador to France from August 1 as their terms of office expire.

 

In Lithuania, ambassadors are appointed and dismissed by the president on the recommendation of the government and with the approval of the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

By Augustas Stankevičius

 

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At least 2 Lithuanian MPs targeted by US-indicted Chinese hackers  - BNS THEME

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – At least two Lithuanian parliamentarians have been targeted by Chinese state-linked hackers accused by the United States and the United Kingdom of a massive cyber-espionage campaign. 

 

In an indictment unsealed last week against seven alleged Chinese hackers, the US Department of Justice said that the decade-plus intrusion activities "resulted in the confirmed and potential compromise of work and personal email accounts, cloud storage accounts and telephone call records belonging to millions of Americans". 

 

The hackers targeted politicians in the US and other countries, and companies including American steel, energy and apparel, and clothing manufacturers. Among the targets were leading 5G mobile phone equipment and wireless technology providers, and even the spouses of senior US officials and lawmakers.

 

According to the indictment, the targets also included "every European Union member" of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). US officials gave no names, but IPAC members include Lithuania's Social Democratic MP Dovile Sakaliene and Conservative MP Zygimantas Pavilionis, a diplomat and chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

Attacks on IPAC members were carried out in early 2021 through malicious emails. Once opened, the emails installed tracking software that gave the hackers access to the victims’ data, such as their IP addresses, browser types, and operating systems.

 

Both Sakaliene and Pavilionis told BNS that they believed Chinese hackers failed to hack into their accounts. However, examples from their colleagues show that such risks remain.

 

Thousands of emails

 

According to the Justice Department, the seven indicted Chinese hackers were part of APT31, a hacking group involved in Beijing's cyber espionage program run by China's Ministry of State Security from the central city of Wuhan.

 

US law enforcement officials believe that the aim of the "global hacking operation" was "to repress critics of the Chinese regime, compromise government institutions, and steal trade secrets". 

 

As part of the cyber-intrusion campaign that ran for around 14 years, APT31 sent more than 10,000 malicious emails that purported to be from prominent news outlets or journalists and appeared to contain legitimate news articles. 

 

China has dismissed the hacking allegations by the US and the UK as "political maneuvering".

 

Tensions between Beijing and Washington over cyber espionage have been escalating recently, with Western intelligence agencies increasingly warning of alleged Chinese espionage.

 

In turn, Beijing has also begun to highlight alleged Western hacking operations.

 

'Risk remains'

 

Sakaliene, a member of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, says that she regularly receives suspicious emails. She remembers getting some of these in early 2021 as well.

 

"There have been spikes in the flow of fake emails, including during the period disclosed by the US authorities," the Social Democratic MP told BNS, adding that judging by the content, APT31 could have been among the senders.

 

Sakaliene noted that IPAC members had been regularly informed about cyber threats posed by China.

 

Although some of her colleagues' accounts were hacked, the politician believes she "perhaps managed to avoid some level of damage."

 

"The risk that I opened a wrong email remains, given the hurry and a very high flow," she said.

 

Sakaliene told BNS that she had asked Lithuania's authorities to check whether her devices were safe, but gave no further details. 

 

Pavilionis called the attempts to hack into his account and those of other IPAC members "recognition of work" performed. 

 

"Of course, I had all my computers checked as soon as I got the news. The computers are clean, because the Russians and everyone else have tried to attack us more than once," the MP told BNS.

 

"Our computers are constantly checked and I myself have had my computer checked by the Seimas services again," he added. 

 

Pavilionis said that he never opens suspicious emails.

 

In response to the US information, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has urged the European Union and other democracies to "take joint action."

 

"In the face of PRC's malign cyber activities that target democratic institutions and elections, EU & other democracies have to take joint action. Naming those responsible, ensuring accountability and reducing dependencies are needed to strengthen our resilience," he posted on the X platform.

 

The IPAC has said in a statement that the campaign by the Beijing-linked hackers was not an attack on "any individual, a political party or the policy of any one government, or even continent".

 

"It was directed at politicians who represent the ideological and geographical breadth of the globe, united by one thing only: their willingness to confront the profound challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party," the alliance said.

 

"We will not be deterred from exercising our democratic freedoms," it added. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rheinmetall's decision on Lithuanian plant expected soon – vice-minister 

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – German military industry giant Rheinmetall's final decision on the construction of a 155 mm artillery ammunition factory in Lithuania is expected in the near future, Deputy Economy and Innovation Minister Karolis Zemaitis said on Wednesday.

 

"We hope to have final decisions within the coming weeks," he said.

 

The vice-minister was speaking to reporters after the Cabinet earlier on Wednesday approved a package of legislative amendments to enable major Western arms and ammunition producers, including Rheinmetall, to set up their production facilities in Lithuania as quickly as possible.

 

The draft amendments are yet to be approved by the parliament. 

 

According to Zemaitis, Rheinmetall has not yet decided on the specific location for the factory, but several potential sites have been proposed to the company.

 

"There are no final decisions yet. It is likely that the company will make its investment decision already knowing the potential locations. Our agencies (...) are constantly working with the investor, presenting various potential locations," he said.

 

The vice-minister added that Rheinmetall expects "Lithuania to be flexible and swift in its decision-making as a state".

 

The official said that the proposed amendments, if adopted, would allow Rheinmetall and other defense industry companies to set up factories in Lithuania much faster.

 

He added that the German company has not yet decided on the financing model for the construction of the factory.

 

When asked how much investment such a factory would require, Zemaitis did not give a specific amount, but said it could be disclosed in the coming weeks after the discussions with the company are completed.

 

Vaidas Sabaliauskas, director of the Lithuanian Defense and Security Industry Association, has said that the state would have to invest at least 250 million euros in the project.

 

The legislative package would set out a procedure for when the construction of large-scale defense projects could begin without the usual building permit. However, it would be mandatory to obtain the permit before the construction is completed.

 

The proposed amendments to the Laws on Investment, Land, Territorial Planning, and Construction would allow the government to designate a major defense industry investment as a project of immediate importance for national security.

 

 

 

Editor: Roma Pakėnienė

 

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First German brigade troops to arrive in Lithuania next week 

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS – The first troops of Germany's brigade assigned to Lithuania are expected to arrive in Vilnius next week, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

 

Alfons Mais, Chief of the German Army, is expected to come to Lithuania together with the brigade's initial command element comprising over 20 military personnel, it said. 

 

The first troops "will be accommodated in Vilnius from where they will plan the further progress of the stationing and agreement of requirements set for Host Nation infrastructure", according to the ministry.

 

"The initial command element will increase in size by the end of the year and become responsible for the assistance in moving the rest of the Brigade to Lithuania," it said.   

 

Germany has committed to deploying a heavy brigade with three maneuver battalions and all necessary enablers, including combat support units.

 

The brigade will be formed by existing and newly formed units. The 203rd Panzer Battalion based in North Rhine-Westphalia and the 122nd Armored Infantry Battalion currently based in Bavaria will be moved to Lithuania. The enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group stationed in Lithuania will be transformed into a multinational battalion and become an integral part of the brigade.  

 

In total, around 5,000 military and civilian personnel are expected to be moved to Lithuania. Some of them will come with their families. 

 

The brigade will be stationed in Rudninkai and Rukla, with logistical hubs to be additionally set up in other locations in Lithuania. The troops and their families will be accommodated in Vilnius and Kaunas. 

 

Discussions on the deployment of a German brigade in Lithuania started after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and Berlin announced its concrete commitment last June. The aim is to beef up the security of Lithuania and the entire eastern flank of NATO.

 

 

 

By Augustas Stankevičius

 

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Wizzair cancels some flights from Lithuania

 

VILNIUS, Apr 03, BNS - Hungarian airline Wizzair has cancelled six flight from Lithuania to European cities, including four from Kaunas and two from Vilnius, the madeinvilnius.lt website reported on Wednesday.

 

Wizz Air has cancelled scheduled flights from Vilnius to Nice and Reykjavik, and to Nice, Bergen, Alesund and Stavanger from Kaunas. The company says this is due to a planned engine check and assures that the changes will be temporary.

 

Londono is the only remaining Wizzair destination from Kaunas. This route is also operated by Ryanair.

 

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Upcoming events in Lithuania for Thursday, April 4, 2024

 

VILNIUS, Apr 04, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Thursday, April 4, 2024.

 

VICE SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Radvile Morkunaite-Mikuleniene to meet Norway's State Secretary Maria Varteressian at 11.30 a.m.

 

DEFENSE MINISTER Laurynas Kasciunas to meet with Ukrainian Ambassador to Lithuania Petro Beshta at 10 a.m.

 

CULTURE MINISTER Simonas Kairys to pay a working visit to Zurich.

 

FOREIGN MINISTER Gabrielius Landsbergis to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

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