Northern Group Defence Ministers Focussed On Strategic Communication
(Source: Lithuania Ministry of Defence; issued June 26, 2019)
On June 25 Ministers of Defence meeting in Northern Group format agreed on further collective actions in the area of strategic communication in order to coordinate communication of exercises in the region and the countries’ engagement in the countermeasures to the Russian propaganda better.

“Regional military exercises is our most important instrument of deterrence and a vital signal of unity, however, a lack of coordinated information about exercises and their relation with NATO increases the risk that our efforts to enhance deterrence and defence will be purposefully misrepresented by the Russian propaganda heralds,” Minister of national Defence Raimundas Karoblis said.

“The number of international exercises increases and as this intensity is growing, we have to ensure a better coordination of communication between us and spreading of information about the exercises.”

The Minister underscored that Lithuania was constantly inviting arms control inspectors from Russia and Belarus to observe exercises for that purpose, however, it was important that such transparency was not unilateral, especially when Russia was concealing information about the exercises it held.

Ministers also discussed ways to coordinate the Northern Group countries’ response to the Russian propaganda and fake news better: they agreed on sharing information about fake news, coordination of a unified response, sharing best practices, and a mechanism for identifying lessons to be learnt.

Ministers also discussed the progress made on military mobility in the Norther Group countries’ territory. “It is a critical practical element of deterrence and defence and Lithuania has already simplified its legal procedures – therefore all there is left to do is to test military mobility in real life and to make sure that the procedures are just as simplified in practice too,” R. Karoblis said.

The Northern Group meeting was attended by defence representatives of Germany, UK, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden, and Iceland. All the countries, except for Finland and Sweden, are members of NATO.

After the meeting in Berlin Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis will go to Brussels to take part in the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting on June 26-27. Ministers of Defence the Allies will address effectiveness of the ongoing NATO deterrence and defence measures, progress of the NATO Readiness Initiate, and investments into new NATO capabilities. Ministers will also discuss the military threat of Russia with a focus on non-compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) provisions.

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