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Lithuania’s army stopped developing and improving after funding was cut due to the recent recession, incoming Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas says.
Jonas Vytautas Žukas
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

“Funding has been reduced for the last couple of years due to objective reasons, the recession, therefore, we must conclude that the Lithuanian army has stopped evolving,” he said in an interview with national broadcaster LRT’s program “Savaitė” (The Week).

Žukas says there’s a shortage of weaponry, transport and communication equipment, and night vision devices.

“The lack of personnel is another major problem, as we simply lack soldiers. There are also reserve-related problems. There are many things we need to deal with right away,” the major general said.

The land forces, the backbone of the Lithuanian army, is now the weakest link, the incoming chief of defence said, adding that they are the ones who need the planned additional funding the most.

Last week, the Seimas of Lithuania unanimously backed Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s proposal to appoint Žukas as Lithuania’s chief of defence.

Žukas, 52, is currently Lithuania’s military representative to NATO and the EU. He previously served as commander of Lithuania’s Land Forces.

Under Lithuania’s Constitution, the chief of defence is appointed for a five-year term and dismissed by the president upon the approval of the Seimas.

BNS