NATO Secretary General visits German and Lithuanian troops in Exercise Griffin Storm
Visiting Pabrade, Lithuania, on Monday (26 June 2023), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met German and Lithuanian troops training together in Exercise Griffin Storm. He was joined by President Gitanas Nausėda and German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.
The exercise tested the rapid reinforcement of the German-led NATO battlegroup to brigade size, as agreed at NATO’s Madrid Summit in 2022. “This exercise sends a clear message: NATO is ready to defend every inch of Allied territory,” said Mr Stoltenberg, adding: “we are demonstrating that we can also reinforce quickly, whenever needed.”
At the Vilnius Summit on 11 and 12 July, Allies will approve new regional plans “with specific forces and capabilities assigned to the defence of specific Allies,” said the Secretary General. He added that the forces will exercise together regularly, and noted that NATO has now also agreed a new rotational model for air and missile defence.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO will further strengthen Baltic security,” said the Secretary General. “I spoke yesterday to President Erdogan and I'm also in contact with the Swedish and the Finnish government. And we agreed to convene a high level meeting in Brussels before the Summit. This meeting will include foreign ministers, heads of intelligence, and national security advisors. The aim is to make progress in completing Sweden's accession to NATO.”
Support for Ukraine will also be a top priority for the Summit, and Mr Stoltenberg praised Germany and Lithuania for providing critical support and training, saying that this “helps save lives every day.” At the Vilnius Summit, Allies will approve a multi-year assistance package and upgrade political ties with Ukraine. “This will help bring the country closer to its rightful place in NATO,” said the Secretary General.