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NATO member state’s defense minister resigns

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will meet with Arvydas Anusauskas on Saturday

Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas has handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, the government’s press office said in a statement on Friday. Anusauskas was also scheduled to meet with President Gitanas Nauseda on Saturday, according to the agenda of the head of state.

Journalist Edmundas Jakilaitis launched a wave of speculation on Friday evening, when he wrote on Facebook: “Thanks to Arvydas Anusauskas. We’ll see how Laurynas Kasciunas will do.”

Anusauskas jokingly directed all questions to Jakilaicius after the post.

“I promised him to refer all interested parties to him for that message, so go ahead, call, ask,” he said.

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Earlier this week, the Lithuanian media predicted that MP Laurynas Kasciunas could succeed Anusauskas as defense chief.

The Lithuanian daily “15 min” reported that the defense minister had requested a meeting urgently, which could signal disagreements between him and Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte. The latter allegedly disapproved of statements he had made in the United States, which he visited this week.

Lithuania’s upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for October, could also be a source of political tension. According to the polls, Anusauskas is the most popular member of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats party.

According to Lithuanian law, a cabinet minister must submit a resignation statement to the prime minister, and the prime minister must hand it over to the president.

A NATO member state since 2004, Lithuania has been actively supporting Ukraine since the start of its conflict with Russia. The Baltic country has also been beefing up its own defenses over the past two years.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) last month, Lithuania’s ambassador to Sweden Linas Linkevicius warned that Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad would be “neutralized first” if Moscow “dares to challenge NATO.”

Russia has consistently made it clear that it considers NATO’s military buildup close to its Western borders to be a threat to its national security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that Moscow has no plans to attack NATO, stressing that his country “has no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily” in doing so.


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