Lithuania holds military drills with NATO allies

STORY: The two-week Iron Wolf exercise will last until Sunday (October 30) and involves more than 3,500 troops from the Lithuanian Army’s Iron Wolf Brigade and eight other NATO countries.

"We have the possibility to see how our NATO troops are united for the same task, to be prepared to defend NATO area, or defend NATO states as Lithuania," Rupsys said.

Maulbecker added the exercise shows that they are "combat-ready".

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been calling for their region to receive the biggest build-up of combat-ready NATO forces in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

But NATO countries were not willing to commit to permanent bases in the Baltics, as it would cost billions of dollars and be hard to sustain. The states may not have enough troops and weaponry, and a permanent presence would be highly provocative for Moscow.

Instead, NATO chose to assign thousands of troops on standby in countries further west like Germany as rapid reinforcements.