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Saturday 24.03.2018 | Name days: Kazimirs, Izidors

Lithuania’s political and economic diary. Lithuanian soldiers in Poland learn use of defence missile systems

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUPurchased with the aim to arm the Lithuanian Armed Forces and bolster the country’s defence against air attacks, the first portion of man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) Grom is due to arrive in Lithuania by the end of this year. In anticipation of it, a group of Lithuanian soldiers has been deployed in Poland to learn how to operate the system, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has announced.

The Lithuanian representatives are learning the skills necessary for employing the Grom system from their Polish colleagues at the Polish Air Force training facilities in Koszalin. The over a week-long operator’s course will familiarise them with the MANPADS Grom and help develop skills necessary for operating the Grom in a battle. When back in Lithuania, they will transfer their new knowledge to other troops who will be actually in charge of operating the Grom systems.

Lithuanian Armed Forces will buy Grom launchers, missiles, maintenance equipment, field trainers, and simulators for the total of EUR 34.041 million.

Procurement of the short-range MANPADS is one of the top priorities in equipping the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

The mobility and combat capacity of the Grom is expected to reinforce the defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces subdivisions and objects from air attacks. The Grom may be operated by small-sized tactical units deployed at a distance or separately from larger units; the procured Grom MANPADS will be used for equipping units of the Lithuanian Land Force that carry out that function.

The Grom is the third kind of missile air defence system in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. It will complement the Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS launchers and 21 Saab RBS 70.The capacity of the new equipment will enhance defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ units against air attacks and reconnaissance missions from low-altitude flying aircraft and UAVs.

Lithuanian parliament debated defence funding

Wary of the tense geopolitical situation, the Lithuanian parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee has held a discussion on implementation of the agreement signed by political parties to increase defence spending.

Defence Minister Juozas Olekas and Chief of Defence Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas delivered speeches to the heads of Lithuanian political parties, MPs, officials of the Lithuanian army and the Ministry of National Defence, representatives of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union and non-governmental organizations contributing to Lithuania’s defence capacities and defence experts.

Last spring, main political parties of Lithuania signed an agreement, committing themselves to increasing defence funding to 2 percent the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, a defence spending target agreed upon by NATO Member-States.

This year, Lithuania’s defence spending stands at 0.89% of the GDP, with plans to increase the 2015 defence budget by a third, pulling up the GDP share to 1.11%. The defence budget is being increased in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Lithuanian parliament speaker congratulates Ukrainian counterpart

Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament Loreta Graužinienė has congratulated the newly elected Chairman of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroisman.

«It is a pleasure to congratulate you on behalf of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and on my personal behalf on becoming the chairman of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. Understanding the recent challenges that Ukraine faces, we wish the very best of luck and strength to you and the Supreme Rada of the new composition in working for the benefit of the democratic country. I truly believe that the cooperation between Lithuanian and Ukrainian parliaments will continue successfully,» the Seimas speaker said in a message.

Lithuanian travel agencies warned over insufficient equity capital

Lithuania’s State Tourism Department has issued written warnings to the country’s 38 travel agencies because they do not meet a provision of the Law on Tourism requiring to keep equity capital of at least half of a company’s authorised capital.

The travel agencies have been warned that their licences will be revoked if they fail to regenerate their equity capital in within six months, i.e., by 24 May 2015.

Of the 38 enterprises, four travel agencies are licensed to carry out outbound tourism activities, 12 – outbound, inbound and local tourism, 3 – inbound and local tourism and 19 only inbound tourism activities.

Suspect wanted by Lithuania in 1991 massacre case vanishes in Italy

Russian citizen Vasiliy Kotlerov, a suspect in the so-called 13 January case who was apprehended in Italy, has disappeared after he was placed under house arrest, LNK, a Lithuanian TV network, has reported.

Kotlerov’s lawyer Renato Musella said he has not heard from the client. The last time he received news from Kotlerov was in July after a court’s hearing.

Conservative MP Audronius Ažubalis, Deputy Chair of the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs, said he was aware that the suspect disregarded the imposed remand measure.

«He was placed under house arrest in Italy and was ordered not to leave the country. However, according to my information, he ignored this,» said Ažubalis.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius said the information was being examined.

«We had such signals and are checking the information,» said Linkevičius.

It is not the first time when suspects in 13 January case escape justice. Another suspect, Mikhail Golovatov, had been arrested in Austria but was released soon after.

Ažubalis says such moves are political. According to him, both Austria and Italy have a specific or rather peculiar attitude towards Russia.

The Italian court had to decide over Kotlerov’s extradition by the end of the year.

No communication between Lithuanian and Russian parliaments

Lithuanian Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė says that cooperation between the Seimas of Lithuania and the state Duma of Russia is almost non-existent.

«We as parliaments do not communicate, although we have a group for interparliamentary relations. For the several past years, the only form of our cooperation was that members of parliaments take part in sport competitions,» she said.

Nevertheless, according to Graužinienė, Lithuania’s parliament is not completely isolated from Russia’s political environment, as Lithuanians communicate with Moscow’s representatives during various meetings.

«There is diplomatic cooperation; however, there certainly is no active or close cooperation with the Duma,» said the Speaker.

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    I love this president let’s kick some ass

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