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Military cooperation with Poland is vital for strengthening security of both, Lithuania and the region, Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis says


On December 15 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis attended Distinguished Visitors and Media Day of LITPOLUKRBRIG headquarters certification Exercise Common Challenge 2016 at the Nowa Deba Training Area of the Polish Army. There the Lithuanian Defence Minister, Ministry of National Defence of Poland Antoni Macierewicz and the Vice Minister of Defence of Ukraine signed a letter of certification verifying the readiness of the trilateral LITPOLUKRBRIG headquarters is in full compliance with NATO standards for a brigade headquarters and is prepared to take on peacekeeping missions.


“A joint Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian brigade is an excellent example of close cooperation of the three countries. Lithuania is satisfied with the speed of LITPOLUKRBRIG progress, staff work, and service conditions of Lithuanian troops in Poland,” Minister R. Karoblis said.


Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis with the Minister of National Defence of Poland and the Vice Minister of Defence of Ukraine observed LITPOLUKRBRIG and affiliated units’ headquarters certification exercise Common Challenge 2016, and met with LITPOLUKRBRIG and affiliated units’ personnel.


When discussing Lithuanian and Polish defence cooperation at a bilateral meeting after the exercise, Lithuanian and Polish Defence Ministers underscored the view of their respective countries as strategic each other’s partners, and defence cooperation constitutes an important element of a strategic partnership.


The Ministers also addressed prospects of LITPOLUKRBRIG development and priority areas of bilateral military cooperation.


At the bilateral meeting Ministers R. Karoblis and A. Macierewicz also discussed the two countries’ joint efforts to strengthen security of the Baltic Sea region and matters related to the deployment of NATO battalion combat groups in the Baltic states and Poland.


Defence cooperation of Lithuania and Poland


Lithuania and Poland have been cooperating closely in military area to increase security in the region since 1993. Militaries of both countries continually develop cooperation among headquarters, military education institutions, and military units at various levels, concert actions in joint weaponry procurement.


Lithuania has been taking part in the activities of the NATO Multinational Corps Northeast based in Poland since 2003. The Polish Air Force ensures security of the airspace above Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by providing rotations of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission.


Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine established a joint military unit, LITPOLUKRBRIG, upon the signature of an establishment agreement by the three countries’ Defence Ministers on 19 September 2014 in Warsaw. The Brigade comprises an international staff, three battalions, and specialised units.


About the tri-national brigade LITPOLUKRBRIG


The Ministers of Defence of the stablishing countries endorsed the agreement on establishing the trilateral Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG) in Warsaw on 19 September 2014.


The Initial Operation Capability of LITPOLUKRBRIG was marked on 25 January 2015 with formal opening of its headquarters based in Lublin. Initial Operational Capability is a phase of readiness of a military unit, it is reached when the unit is manned at least by 90%, documents necessary for HQ operation have been prepared, budget approved, welfare of members and their families is ensured, and other conditions for the operation of the unit are met.


When the headquarters reaches Full Operation Capability, it will include roughly 100 soldiers and civilians, while the entire brigade will be roughly 3.5-4 thousand strong.


The Brigade is formed following the model of multinational crisis response capabilities – European Union Battle Groups (EU BGs). The LITPOLUKRBRIG is made up of an international staff, three battalions and special-purpose units. Brigade personnel serves in their home countries but are assembled for multinational operations and exercises.


Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine each assign an infantry battalion, and personnel for special-purpose units and the LITPOLUKRBRIG staff. The Lithuanian contribution to the LITPOLUKRBRIG is formed from the personnel of the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion.


The LITPOLUKRBRIG personnel participate in joint training and exercises, the Brigade or its elements will be deployed to international operations mandated by the United Nations Security Council, while decision regarding deployment of the LITPOLUKRBRIG to international operations will be made by general consent of all the establishing countries.


The LITPOLUKRBRIG battalions are held on standby in their home countries, and deploy in composition of LITPOLUKRBRIG in case a decision is made to activate the Brigade or any of its elements.


On 21 September 2016 Colonel Zenon Brzuszko was appointed the commander of the brigade. The LITPOLUKRBRIG Commander is assigned by the establishing nations on a rotational basis by general consent.


Photo credits: Ministry of National Defence of Poland (R. Suchy)

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