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Lithuania will continue being an active participant of Ukraine’s defence reform, R. Karoblis says


Video  (OR-5 Lukas Tamošiūnas)


On May 19 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis discussed topics of bilateral interest with Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak conducting a two-day visit in Lithuania.


The Minister of Defence of Ukraine presented an overview of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, enhancement of his country’s defence, the progress on Ukraine’s defence reform, and joint exercises. Minister S.Poltorak stressed that joint exercises help significantly strengthen Ukraine’s defence and minimize casualties.


“Lithuania is not a big country, but you have done more than any of the big countries. You have your point of view and you are not afraid to let it be known, and you support us with everything that you can,” the Minister of Defence of Ukraine said.


In his turn, Minister R.Karoblis promised to continue supporting Ukraine and rendering assistance in the areas it needed. Lithuania will continue being an active participant of Ukraine’s defence reform prioritising development of the special operations forces and NCO corps reform.


“It is a difficult task to implement a reform at a time the country is at war, however, Ukraine makes a progress on it reform. Now it has to keep the pace and ensure civilian democratic control,” Defence Minister R.Karoblis said. He underscored that Lithuania will continue making every effort to help Ukraine strengthen its economy and defence.


The Ministers also discussed Lithuania’s military training mission and the plans to establish a long-term training mission in Ukraine. “In coordination with Ukrainian colleagues, it will allow the Lithuanian Armed Forces to carry out a more efficient identification and planning of what, when and what kind of advisory or training mission Ukrainian soldiers need. Establishment of the mission will elevate the Lithuanian-Ukrainian defence cooperation to a new level,” the Minister of National Defence said. It is a bilaterally beneficial tendency, particularly to Ukraine’s effort to come nearer to NATO.


The Ministers also addressed external threats and mutual efforts to diminish them.


It was Minister S.Poltorak’s return visit to Lithuania after Minister R.Karoblis visited Ukraine at the invitation of his counterpart in late January.


After the visit in Vilnius the Defence Minister of Ukraine went to the National Cyber Security Centre where, according to Ukraine’s Defence Minister, he was pleasantly impressed by the activities carried out at the Centre and qualification and professionalism of its personnel.


Lithuania supports the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and its European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Cooperation with Ukraine has been one of Lithuania’s key foreign and security policy areas for a long time now.


Lithuania supports independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine from the beginning of the Russian military aggression, and provides all kinds of possible and legally permissible assistance, including military. Lithuania handed over to Ukraine parts of weaponry and unused ammunition. Lithuanian healthcare institutions and the Military Rehabilitation Centre in Druskininkai are providing care for Ukrainian troops injured in the Anti-Terrorist Operation.


The Lithuanian Armed Forces cooperate with the Armed Forces of Ukraine in military training and education. Lithuania continues providing support to the studies of Ukrainian officers at military education institutions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL), Lithuania together with Poland and Ukraine established a trilateral brigade, LITPOLUKRBRIG.


Lithuania’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defence are contributing to the NATO Trust Fund which supports the command and control, communications and computer capabilities enhancement measures.


According to a public opinion poll carried out by request of the Ministry of National Defence in December 2016, the population of Lithuania support Lithuania’s military assistance to Ukraine as well – 63% of respondents were completely in favor or in favor of it.


Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis

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