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The U.S. will continue sending rotational forces to take part in joint exercises in Lithuania and other Baltic states, Commander EUCOM and SACEUR General C. M. Scaparrotti says


Video report (OR-1 Lukas Tamošiūnas, MoD)


“I am confident that peace, security and stability of the Baltic region is on the minds of many throughout the world. We are firmly committed to NATO and to standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies. U.S. servicemembers will rotate through the Baltic region to participate in joint exercises,” Commander of the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Curtis M. Scaparrotti said on March 16 during his first official visit in Lithuania.


Gen. C. M. Scaparrotti announced that this year the Minnesota National Guard will rotate to Lithuania to take part in Exercise Saber Strike, as well as the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s Task Force.


At the meeting with the U.S. General Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis and Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas discussed security situation in the region, further U.S. and NATO plans regarding strengthening deterrence and defence in the region, and training and deploying the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroup.


“Continuous presence of NATO forces and equipment together with the deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalions in the Baltic states is an indispensable deterrent,” Minister R.Karoblis said at the meeting.


“At the meeting I have expressed a hope to see U.S. soldiers in Lithuania not only during the upcoming Russian-Belorussian Exercise Zapad 2017 but also after it,” Lt Gen J. V. Žukas said.


Lithuanian national defence leadership thanked the U.S. General for the particularly quick allies’ response to the aggression in Ukraine in 2014 and the decision to deploy rotational forces and military equipment in the Baltic states and Poland taken immediately after.


Also, great attention at the meetings was dedicated to discussing bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Lithuania and the U.S.


During the visit in Vilnius General C. M. Scaparrotti also met with President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.


About rotational U.S. presence and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion in Lithuania


The United States of America has been maintaining a rotating presence in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe since spring 2014 as part of U.S. Army Europe operation in the Eastern part of the Alliance, Operation Atlantic Resolve. The U.S. presence demonstrates the unwavering U.S. and NATO commitment to collective defence and regional security in the context of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. THe present rotational U.S. company is comprise d of 120 soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division 3rd Brigade Combat Team 68th Armor Regiment 1st Battalion.


The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroup is deployed in Lithuania as agreed by the Heads of State and Governments at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016 in the context of the changed geopolitical situation and active Russia's actions in Ukraine. This year the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion will be manned by Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, next year - by Croatia, and France, in total, roughly 1,200 soldiers. Germany is the framework nation of the NATO eFP battlegroup in Lithuania, deployed in Rukla. Such battlegroups are also deployed to enhance allied presence in the eastern flank of the Alliance in Estonia, Latvia and Poland as of 2017.


About Gen C. M. Scaparrotti


As Commander EUCOM, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is responsible for the readiness of U.S. forces in Europe for wide-spectrum military missions and exercises alongside European allies and partners to the end of protecting U.S. national interests and supporting European interests. General Curtis M. Scaparrotti heads the force as Commander of the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) based in Germany (Stuttgart).


As SACEUR, Gen C. M. Scaparrotti is based at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium (Mons) and is in charge all strategic level NATO operations and exercises in Europe and sets strategic military directions for the commanders subordinate according to the NATO Command Structure.


Photo credits - Giedrė Maksimovicz (MoD)

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