Latvia, Lithuania discuss defense spending

Lithuania is planning to increase defense spending to 1.5% of GDP next year, and has thus taken a step towards strengthening their defense. Latvia is about to follow as well, said Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens and Farmers Union) in an interview to Latvian Television's Panorāma on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the new Defense Minister Bergmanis went to Lithuania on his first foreign visit, where he met his Lithuanian counterpart Juozas Olekas. 

The two discussed coordinating defense matters, as well as the proposed mid-tier air defense systems that are a joint plan for the three Baltic countries.

Bergmanis expressed hope that "We'll be able to take great strides ahead just like our neighbors did."

While discussing assistance to Ukraine, Minister Olekas maintained that training the country’s armed forces was a crucial support for Ukraine’s military reform and invited Latvia to go in with the joint international efforts by sending military instructors to Ukraine. Lithuania is contributing military instructors together with the United States, notified a statement at the homepage of Lithuania's Ministry of National Defence.

Latvia plans to increase defense spending to 2% of the GDP by 2018. 

Raimonds Bergmanis, a former weightlifter and public personality, became Minister of Defense after president Raimonds Vējonis (Greens and Farmers Union) took office. 

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