Chris Lange, FISM News
Portugal has deployed 146 Marines to join NATO forces stationed in Lithuania in ongoing efforts to shore up the alliance’s eastern flank amid Russia’s war on Ukraine. Among the troops are divers trained to deactivate explosive devices.
Portugal’s defense ministry said the objective of the mission is to “support high levels of readiness and discourage direct or indirect threats” against NATO members, particularly in the Baltic Sea region.
The detachment departed today and will remain in Lithuania for three months.
Elsewhere, voters in Denmark are heading to the polls today to decide whether to eliminate their country’s opt-out from the European Union’s common defense policy.
The Nordic country is a founding member of NATO but has played no role in most EU military operations for the past three decades via the opt-out. Analysts expect that citizens will vote in favor of knocking-down the exclusion clause and further bolster unity in the NATO alliance.
The historic vote is the latest example of European countries seeking stronger defense ties with allies in response to the Russian invasion. Last month, Finland and Sweden made historic bids for NATO membership, which are still being held up by Turkey.