World

NATO opens military coordination unit in Lithuania as regional fears grow over Ukraine crisis

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, right, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel, second from left, and Lithuania's Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Zukas, second from right, attend in a ceremony unveiling the NATO Force Integration Unit plaque on its headquarters building during a inaugurating the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. NATO Force Integration Units are small command and control headquarters whose key mission is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force  and additional rapid response elements into the region if needed.  (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, right, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel, second from left, and Lithuania's Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Zukas, second from right, attend in a ceremony unveiling the NATO Force Integration Unit plaque on its headquarters building during a inaugurating the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. NATO Force Integration Units are small command and control headquarters whose key mission is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and additional rapid response elements into the region if needed. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, shake hands at the end of a news conference  at the NATO Force Integration Unit Headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. NATO Force Integration Units are small command and control headquarters whose key mission is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force  and additional rapid response elements into the region if needed.  (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, shake hands at the end of a news conference at the NATO Force Integration Unit Headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. NATO Force Integration Units are small command and control headquarters whose key mission is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and additional rapid response elements into the region if needed. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, speaks at the end of a news conference at the NATO Force Integration Unit Headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. NATO Force Integration Units are small command and control headquarters whose key mission is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force  and additional rapid response elements into the region if needed.  (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, speaks at the end of a news conference at the NATO Force Integration Unit Headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. NATO Force Integration Units are small command and control headquarters whose key mission is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and additional rapid response elements into the region if needed. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

With fighter jets roaring overhead, NATO has inaugurated a military center in the Lithuanian capital amid growing regional concerns over Russia's military presence, sparked by the fighting in Ukraine.

Lithuania, which like its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia, was occupied for nearly five decades by the Soviet Union, has published a manual on what to do if war breaks out and volunteers are signing up for the Home Guard in record numbers.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg joined Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Thursday to open the alliances' force integration unit, one of six in an eastern expansion of the partnership.

The alliance says that Moscow has increased its military air activity near the Baltic countries' borders with a growing number of intercepts conducted by NATO fighter jets.