American soldiers and tanks will arrive in Lithuania

The Lithuanian authorities emphasize that the exercises are defensive and are not directed against any of the neighbors.

US military personnel and tanks will arrive in Lithuania on Friday, which will be stationed near the border with Belarus for two months.

On Wednesday evening, Lithuania announced that US troops would be transferred from Poland to conduct pre-planned military exercises.

The exercises are “defensive in nature and are not directed against any of the neighbors, including Belarus,” the Lithuanian authorities stressed in their statement.

However, the troops will arrive earlier and stay in Lithuania longer than indicated before the start of the protests in Belarus.

A spokesman for the Lithuanian army said the mission, which will start on Friday and last until November, will involve 500 American troops and 40 vehicles, such as Abrams tanks and Bradley armored personnel carriers.

On July 29, Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis told that in September, the United States would send a contingent of 300 to 1,000 troops to the country for a two-week exercise, which is scheduled to begin in the middle of the month.

Karoblis repeated this information on August 4 in an interview with public radio LRT.

The Lithuanian Defense Ministry has not yet commented.

According to the representative of the Lithuanian army, up to 1,000 soldiers and military aircraft from France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and other countries will also take part in the annual exercises, which will be held from September 14 to 25.

The Agency did not report any plans for these forces to remain in Lithuania after September 25.