FACT CHECK: Did A Pentagon Spokesperson Demand Lithuania Be Expelled From NATO?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Twitter claims a Pentagon spokesperson demanded Lithuania be expelled from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Verdict: False

There is no evidence to suggest the organization is planning to remove any members. Representatives for the Pentagon and NATO confirmed the claim is false.

Fact Check:

Lithuania has blockaded Russia’s Kaliningrad region and refuses to allow goods targeted by European Union sanctions to pass through, according to The Associated Press. A deputy head of Russia’s foreign affairs’ committee warned the blockade could lead to an armed conflict to “protect its territory and ensure its security,” the outlet reported.

The Twitter post claims a spokesperson from the Pentagon demanded Lithuania’s expulsion from NATO over the blockade. The claim has circulated on social media in Russia, with one example on Twitter garnering over 350 likes.

“The Pentagon spokesman demanded that Lithuania be expelled from NATO,” the tweet reads, attributing the comment to U.S. Army General Robert Jefferson. He allegedly warned that the continuation of the blockade could lead to “a real Third World War.”

The claim is incorrect. NATO has not made any mention of the blockade on its website or social media accounts, There are likewise no credible news reports suggesting that any NATO member state has called for the expulsion of Lithuania or any other members. 

No officer under the name of “Robert Jefferson” is listed in the Army’s General Officer Management Office database. (RELATED: Have Finland And Sweden Applied For NATO Membership?)

“This is total rubbish. Lithuania is a valued NATO Ally, and the United States has not called for the expulsion of Lithuania from NATO,” A NATO spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email. A spokesperson for the Pentagon also denied the claim in an email.

This is not the first time NATO has been the target of false information. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting troops from the organization attacked Russian soldiers who were heading towards the Ukrainian border.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter

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