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The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (MND) announced on 28 June 2023 that it will contribute a military assistance package to Ukraine that will include the purchase two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) from Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA).

An acquisition contract worth around EUR 9.8 M for the NASAMS units was signed between Lithuanian’s Defence Materiel Agency and KDA on 27 June, the MND stated.

“We are purchasing upgraded NASAMS missile launchers, which will be fully ready for integration with the armed forces of Ukraine fire control units, thus supplementing and extending its NASAMS operational capability donated by Norway and [the] US,” Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas was quoted as saying in a 28 June press release.

Lithuania is also arranging the transfer and hand-over of the equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces, which will take place in the coming three months, according to the MND. The Norwegian Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, is contributing to the package with a donation of NASAMS launcher maintenance equipment.

Lithuania is itself a NASAMS user, having received its first systems in October 2020.

The Lithuanian military assistance package is also planned to include 10 M113 armoured personnel carriers, thus making a total of 72 such vehicles donated by Lithuania to Ukraine.

Lithuania, already a NASAMS user, is buying two systems for donation to Ukraine. (Photo: Kongsberg)

Additionally, the MND noted that Lithuania has placed an order for 12.5 million rounds of ammunition for Ukraine to be produced in 2023, 2.5 million rounds of which will be handed over to Ukraine shortly.

“Thousands of rounds of anti-tank ammunition for grenade launchers will follow soon as well. With this assistance package, Lithuania’s contribution to Ukraine’s defence will exceed half a billion euros,” the MND stated.

Lithuania has also committed to continue supporting Ukraine in the long term by endorsing a military assistance plan worth at least EUR 200 M in the period 2024-2026.

In March 2023 Lithuania raised its defence spending by EUR 97.5 M, ensuring it reaches a level of 2.52% of GDP, on top of a 2023 defence budget of EUR 1.775 Bn, which was itself about EUR 573 M more thn what was approved in 2022.

As a former Soviet territory that shares a border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Lithuania has keenly felt the plight of Ukraine since the Russian invasion of February 2022.

Peter Felstead