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NATO eFP Battalion Battle Group change of command ceremony took place in Rukla


As of February 5 the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania will be under the command of a German officer, Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Rüdiger Otto. He took over as commander of the high-readiness multinational unit from Lieutenant Colonel Thorsten Gensler who had served in the position for six months. The transfer of command ceremony was held together with celebration of the first anniversary of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania at the Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in Rukla.


Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis presented to Lt Gen Th. Gensler the National Defence System Medal for Distinguished Service for the contribution during his service in Lithuania, and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas - the flag of Lithuania.


The new commander of the NATO eFP Battalion Battle Group that rotates every six months, Lieutenant Colonel W. R. Otto is the commander of the 292nd Jaeger Battalion, Franco-German Brigade, German Army. The German contingent deployed in Lithuania rotated together with the Battle Group commander, members of the 292nd Jaeger Battalion replaced their colleagues from the 371st Mechanised Infantry Battalion of the German Army after having served since August 2017.


Soldiers of Germany, the lead nation of the Battle Group, were the first of the eFP to deploy with equipment in January 2017. Later they were joined by Belgian, Croatian, Luxembourg, Dutch and Norwegian capabilities, and since the beginning of this year – French.


The NATO eFP Battle Group ensures its high-level readiness and interoperability through constant training and preparation for collective defence. The multinational NATO eFP based in Rukla, at the Training Regiment, is integrated into the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and constantly trains in collective defence training events and exercises.


Deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania, Latvia , Estonia and Poland is a history-making decision taken by the NATO Heads of State and Government in July 2016. IT is primarily a response to the Military aggression of Russia in Ukraine, also, Russia’s increasing military potential and military muscle-flexing in the region.


Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis (MoD)

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