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R. Karoblis:


On August 11 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas together with the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė in Rukla (Jonava district) met with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte who arrived to Lithuania to meet with soldiers of his country serving in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroup.


"We are grateful to the Netherlands for their significant contribution to strengthening security and deterrence in the region. Uniform threat assessment is essential for a strong NATO partnership and for the effectiveness of security measures. The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion in Rukla is a great proof and example of this," Minister of National Defense R. Karoblis said.


During the visit the Prime Minister of the Netherlands together with the Lithuanian political and military leadership observed a dynamic show of the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ soldiers conducted together with the Allies. As the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroup is operating as part of the Iron Wolf Brigade of the Lithuanian Armed Forces , the tasks are also carried out jointly. This time, the joint operation with the Allies was carried out by the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanized Infantry Battalion’s IIIrd (Piranha) company troops. The Piranhas' Company is also on the NATO’s very high readiness force this year.


The second rotation of the Dutch troops has already been serving in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroup led by Germany since July . The Dutch Armed Forces contingent currently 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 and other battles. Also soldiers of this Dutch Armed Forces unit participated in the missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Dutch troops brought to Lithuania all unit vehicles – armoured fighting vehicles Boxer and universal deployment vehicles Fennek, etc.


During the period of 2017-2018 soldiers from Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia and France will serve in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battlegroup - in total about 1, 2 thousand soldiers. Since February this year, the Battalion Battlegroup is led by German soldiers, who also make the basis of the battlegroup.


In peace time, NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion has been participating in exercises with Lithuanian troops and, in the event of a crisis or conflict, will defend Lithuania together with the Lithuanian National and Allied Forces deployed in Lithuania additionally.


NATO enhanced Forward Presence battalion Battlegroup deployed in Lithuania includes headquarters and headquarters company, supply company, three to four combat companies, as well as various combat support units. Allied battalion battlegroup can be reinforced on demand, for example: threat, exercises, etc. To Lithuania this year have already arrived additional artillery, air defence, engineering and other divisions.


For Allied soldiers deployed in our country Lithuania has provided all necessary host nation support: accommodation, meals, and other necessary logistical support.


As a result of aggressive Russian actions in Ukraine and the changing security situation, leaders of the states at the Warsaw Summit have made a decision from 2017 in the three Baltic States and Poland to strengthen the presence of allies by deploying battalion size enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups.


Pictures by  Giedrė Maksimovicz ( Lithuanian MOD)



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