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Polish, Lithuanian and NATO soldiers ensure Suwałki Gap safety: President

Polish President Andrzej Duda has met with his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda, at the military base near the Polish-Lithuanian border. “We decided to come to the Suwałki Gap to show it is safe thanks to the everyday vigilant service of Polish, Lithuanian and NATO soldiers,” Duda said.

He added that the Suwałki Gap is an especially important spot for both countries and NATO, as it is the only piece of land that connects Lithuania and the other Baltic states with the rest of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance.

“It is also a spot which separates the Russian Kaliningrad enclave from Belarus. Due to its location, it has to be protected by our armed forces in an exceptional way. NATO soldiers are present here as enhanced Forward Presence. After the NATO summit in Madrid it will be called enhanced Forward Defence,” Duda said.

He pointed out that the multi-national battalions guarantee the safety of the Suwałki Gap and the entire region. Duda made further mention of plans to increase NATO rapid response forces from 40,000 up to 300,000.

“This is the quintessence of the US President’s speech in Warsaw where he was talking about Article 5 of NATO and the guarantee of collective defence of every inch of NATO’s land. I would like to thank all soldiers – the US, British, Romanian, Polish and Lithuanian – who are present in Suwałki Gap and make the region safe,” Duda said.

Duda described the cooperation between Poland and Lithuania as material and constructive.

“Our enemies are not happy seeing our unity. The Suwałki Gap is a very fragile place closely watched by an aggressor” Duda said.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that actions of both countries should adequately reflect the weight of the situation and ensure the safety of the Suwałki Gap. He added further that one of the goals of today’s meeting had been to “discuss actions and support in case of threat”.

The Presidents were accompanied by Ministers of Defence of both countries – Mariusz Błaszczak and Arvydas Anusauskas.

The Suwałki Gap is a natural chokepoint which Russian forces could potentially make use of, from multiple directions in attacking NATO troops who may intend to reinforce the Baltics. The Suwalki Gap does indeed seem to be key for Russia in making a play for or putting pressure on the Baltic states.

The region has recently been described by Politico as the most dangerous place on earth.

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