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Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence of the Netherlands to visit Lithuania, meet with Dutch soldiers serving in the NATO battalion in Lithuania

2017.12.05
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On December 6 Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld-Schouten and Chief of Defence Admiral Rob Bauer of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and a delegation will come for a visit to Lithuania. The guests will meet with Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, leadership of the MoD and the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the Lithuanian and the Dutch Defence Ministers will hold a bilateral meeting. Later the guest Minister and the Chief of Defence will visit the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė (Švenčionys distr.) to meet with soldiers of the Netherlands serving as part of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group and currently training in Exercise Winter Wolf.

 

At the bilateral meeting the ministers will discuss the security situation in the Baltic region, new European Common Security and Defence Policy initiatives, and bilateral Lithuania-Dutch defence cooperation.

 

The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group deployed in Lithuania since the beginning of 2017 for deterrence and defence includes roughly 250 Dutch servicemembers with their own equipment and weaponry (roughly 40 items, such as CV 90 infantry fighting vehicles, Fennek reconnaissance vehicles, Boxer, armoured recovery vehicles, etc.).

 

The current Dutch Armed Forces contingent in Lithuania comprises over 200 soldiers from the 13th Light Brigade, the 42nd Limburgse Jagers Armoured Infantry Regiment of the Netherlands Armed Forces deployed in Oirschot. Limburgse Jagers is the oldest infantry regiment of the Netherlands Armed Forces, since 1813. During more than 200 years this division has participated in the historical Battle of Waterloo (1815) and other battles. Also soldiers of this Dutch Armed Forces unit participated in the missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995-2003), operations in Iraq (2004) and Afghanistan (2007-2010).

 

The Netherlands has two more soldiers deployed in Lithuania apart from the contingent contributed to the NATO eFP, they are posted to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius.

 

Also, a Dutch Air Force Detachment was deployed in Šiauliai in the beginning of this year and carried out the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states with four F-16s. In total, the Netherlands took part in the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission twice and also sent one augmentation to Malbork Air Base in Poland in September-December 2014.

 

Right from the beginning of their deployment, Dutch soldiers have been taking part in various social projects (repaired buildings of various education institutions, orphanages, helped with park maintenance in Jonava and Švenčionys district).

 

Photo credit: 1st Lt Merien van der Velden

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