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Polish and Lithuanian Leaders Meet Troops at NATO Bottleneck | Business News

By Monica Skislowska and Mikal Dizuk, Associated Press

SZYPLISZKI, Poland (AP) – The presidents of NATO member Poland and Lithuania on Thursday expressed confidence that allied troops could fully protect a strategically important corridor connecting their countries between Russia’s ally Belarus and a Russian Baltic Sea enclave.

Concerns over NATO’s ability to protect the Suvalki Gap, a 70-kilometer (43-mile) corridor between Poland and Lithuania, since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. And nuclear-capable missile-based.

Polish President Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian Gitanas Nauseda visited sparsely populated areas on Thursday and met with Polish and Lithuanian NATO troops.

“This is a very sensitive area and the eyes of an attacker may be pointing here,” Nowseda told the Polish side Szipliski.

Political cartoons on world leaders

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The corridor connects Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia – all former Soviet republics bordering Russia – Poland and other NATO members.

“We decided to come to this place … to show that it is safe … because of what you see here today: full of daily, quiet but alert service to Polish, Lithuanian and other NATO troops,” said Duda of Poland.

At the request of Poland and the Baltic states, NATO leaders decided at a summit in Madrid last week that the number of allied forces in Eastern Europe would be significantly increased.

In the Suwalki Gap, a battalion of hundreds of troops will be upgraded to a brigade with thousands of troops.

Nowseda said the two countries were increasing their defense spending to about 2.5% of their gross domestic product.

The presidents were accompanied by their defense ministers. The mobile command unit of the US-led multinational division North East is currently going through field exercises in the Szipilsky area.

From there the two presidents traveled to Marijampol. Lithuania, to meet with a German-led logistical battalion and closely observed the weapons and vehicles there.

“This land is protected by the strongest defense alliance in the world and – what we both want to emphasize – this land is safe,” said Duda Marijampole.

Follow the Russia-Ukraine War AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Monica Sislowska reports from Warsaw.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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