Asta Galdikaite, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Defence Ministry, 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 threats from Moscow.
American troops now have a “persistent” presence in the Baltic states, according to US military chief Gen. Raymond T. Thomas, as the US develops increasingly close ties with countries bordering Russia.
Gen. Thomas, the head of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command, said: “They’re scared to death of Russia… they are very open about that.
“They’re desperate for our leadership.”
Lithuania’s foreign minister Linas Linkevicius has suggested Putin is building up advanced weaponry on the Russian border with Europe.
Mr Linkevicius said: “There is a build up going on in Kaliningrad.
“Iskander missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads have been deployed.
“There are S-400 missiles and modernised jets.”
Meanwhile, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite confirmed the US represents a key player in the region following a meeting with US senators in Vilnius last week.
A spokesperson for the president said: “Given the changing geopolitical environment, the active role that the United States plays in Europe and the region continues to provide the most reliable security guarantees for the Baltic states and for the whole trans-Atlantic community.”
The US troops are believed to be helping train local forces amid ongoing tensions between Russia and the West.
Outgoing president Barack Obama’s decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two compounds following “aggressive activities” from Moscow has made relations between the two powers even worse.