Juknevičienė spoke at a news conference held at the ministry on Monday to mark eight-year anniversary of Lithuania's NATO membership.
"If financing level we have now continues for another two or three years, Lithuania will have to decide on the size of its Armed Forces. I believe the army we have now is very small, I would even say it's too small. However, if 60 percent of its budget goes towards personnel, the army cannot survive this situation for long. It has to exercise, soldiers must do their job, you cannot spend all the money on food," the minister told journalists.
In her words, a broader political agreement is needed on the size of the army Lithuania can support.
Currently, Lithuania's Armed Forces consist of 7,700 professional soldiers and 4,215 volunteers.
Juknevičienė emphasized that insufficient defense funding was the biggest challenge in the context of Lithuania's NATO membership.
"Funding of our national defense sector. This is probably the only – yet a very important – negative factor in the context of our NATO membership. (...) I do not want to bring bad news but, if the issue is not resolved, all the positive changes on the strategic level will be left without practical implementation," she said.
In her words, it is Lithuania, not NATO, that needs bigger defense funding.
"This is about our safety," Juknevičienė added.