VILNIUS, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Monday visited a maritime-focused military exercise Baltops 18 amid a number of military trainings taking place in Lithuania in recent days.
"We have the exercise which practically shows NATO Article 5 (on collective defense) is working, and the collective defense is possible," Grybauskaite told Lithuanian national broadcaster LRT.
The Lithuanian president noted the maritime military drill is one of the largest in the region, which involves 50 navy ships, 60 aircrafts and 5,000 personnel.
"This time we have a record, 22 countries, two non-NATO countries," said the Lithuanian president from the deck of an U.S. dock landing ship Oak Hill in the Baltic Sea on Monday.
Grybauskaite also discussed defense strengthening in the region with the commanders of the U.S. Navy in Europe while attending the exercise.
Baltops 18 is held in parallel with Thunder Storm 2018, Lithuania's largest national military drill in its history with 9,000 personnel, and Saber Strike 2018, the international military drill that involves roughly 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries training in Lithuania and neighboring Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.
It is the first time in 20 years when all Lithuanian national defense capabilities together with allied forces are deployed for military training, local media reported.
In recent years, Lithuania, a small Baltic State with a population of less than 3 million and the Eastern-flank member country of NATO, has stepped up its military training, increased defense spending and asked for an increased presence of allied armed forces citing security tensions in eastern Europe.