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Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Denmark to visit Lithuania, meet with Danish soldiers guarding Baltic airspace


On January 15 President of the Republic of Lithuania HE Dalia Grybauskaitė and Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis will meet with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Minister of Defence Claus Hjort Frederiksen of the Kingdom of Denmark condicting an official visit in Lithuania.


The guests and their delegations will visit the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai and meet with the soldiers of Denmark deployed to carry the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states earlier this week.


The meetings between the Lithuanian and the Danish delegations are expected to address aspects of bilateral defence cooperation, security situation in the Baltic Sea region and the eastern neighbourhood of NATO, priorities on the agenda of the NATO Summit due to take place in July with a particular focus on strengthening deterrence and defence measures for the Baltic region.


The Danish rotation with four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft formed by personnel and equipment of the Fighter Wing Skrydstrup of the Danish Air Force landed in Lithuania on January 5 and took over the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states from the U.S. Air Force Detachment at a formal ceremony on January 8.


It is the sixth time Denmark is manning the mission, the previous rotations were deployed in 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013 to Šiauliai, and in 2014 - to the augmentation of the mission conducted from Amari Air Base, Estonia.


17 NATO allies have already contributed since NATO began sending Air Policing Mission rotations to protect the Baltic airspace right after Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO on March 2004. Three years ago the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states was augmented following the Russian annexation of Crimea.


Military cooperation between Lithuania and Denmark


In 2015 Lithuania and Denmark updated the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding which replaced the previous agreements on defence cooperation endorsed in 1994. Since Lithuania first joined a peacekeeping operation in 1994, over a thousand of Lithuanian soldiers were trained for the purpose with Danish assistance. Lithuanians were assigned to the Danish Contingent to deploy to the multinational operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iraq, and Kosovo, while Denmark's troops served in composition of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor province, Afghanistan.


Denmark has great merits in training and arming the Artillery Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, this ally continually renders assistance by arranging training events for Lithuanian military, joint military exercises, and deploying Danish soldiers to take part in military exercises held in Lithuania. The Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, Lithuanian Armed Forces, is affiliated to the Danish Army Division (DDIV), which increases the ability of both countries to carry out joint operations, and gives Lithuanian soldiers the opportunity to train in NATO exercises and training as part of a division.


Danish officer Colonel Jakob Sogard Larsen is in command of the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) established in Vilnius in 2015.


For the Media:


On January 15 Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen, President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, and Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis are expected to hold a brief press conference. Media representatives willing to avail of the opportunity provided at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai are invited to register until noon of January 12 at [email protected] or 8-41 59 21 51.


Information required for registration: full name, represented media outlet, contacts (mobile phone number, e-mail address).


Media representatives may be asked to present personal ID documents and press card on site.


Freelance reporters and foreign media representatives will need accreditation given by the MoD Strategic Communication and Public Relations Department, e-mail: [email protected] Information required: filled out form, copies of a personal ID document and confirmation document from the media outlet.


Registered and accredited media representatives should arrive at the Air Base (Lakūnų str. 3, Šiauliai) on January 15 until 2.00 p.m.


Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis (MoD), changeover of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission air detachments on January 8, 2018.

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