Tensions between Washington and the Kremlin have reached Cold War levels amid reports Vladimir Putin is deploying nuke-ready missiles in the Russian province of Kaliningrad – which borders Poland, Belarus and Lithuania.
And Lithuanian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite confirmed America has offered additional military support following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
She said: “The United States was the first to offer additional safety assurance measures to the Baltic countries following the deterioration of the security situation in the region after the annexation of the Crimea.”
She added: “US Special Operations Forces presence in Lithuania is one of the deterrents” against military threats by Putin’s aggressive regime, reports the Express.
Linkevicius branded Russian behaviour in the region “military hooliganism” and called on Nato to take action and offer more support to beleaguered Ukraine.
He said: “Russia likes to create problems, conflict and then suggest some ideas how to mitigate, how to mediate – and some of our colleagues say ‘look they are cooperating’.”
In November, Putin’s naval forces unveiled their latest super-stealth submarine which has been deployed in the Black Sea as a shocking new report revealed Russia is “taking over” the region.
Kremlin bosses promised Russia would never allow the sea to become a “Nato lake” and they firmly believe the military alliance would crumble if, as feared, the Americans pull out.
Relations between the outgoing Obama administration and Russia have soured following allegations that Putin ordered the email hack which helped scupper Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
The White House has since expelled 35 Russian diplomats and has shut down two “spy” compounds in New York and Maryland in response to what it claims is a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow.