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Lithuanian soldiers will further serve in nine multinational operations in 2018


On 1 January 2018 the new mandate of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania approving the list of multinational operations Lithuanian soldiers will be taking part in until 2019 came into force. TO be an active and responsible member of international community, Lithuania will further contribute to multinational operations supporting international efforts to maintain peace and stability in the world, prevent conflicts between states and ethnic conflicts, and fight international terrorism.


Lithuania’s contribution to multinational operations was increased in 2017 and will be kept that way in 2018 at the same time seeking further increase. To date, Lithuania contributes over 120 troops to nine operations in Europe, Asia and Africa led by different international organisations.


Lithuania continues to take part in the NATO-led multinational Operation Resolute Support for training national security forces of Afghanistan. Lithuania plans to maintain the present number of 29 deployed soldiers and assess the possibility to increase it on the basis of security situation and estimation of the allies. New rotation of the Lithuanian contingent will leave for Africa in early January to replace soldiers currently serving in Herat and Kabul.


One Lithuanian soldier will continue serving in the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR). Lithuania has been sending soldiers to the peacekeeping NATO KFOR since late 2012. Specialists of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in KFOR rotate every four months. Launched on 12 July 1999, the mission is currently manned by 30 countries.


15 Lithuanian soldiers will be serving on a rotation in EUNAVFOR operation ATALANTA. The fourth rotation of the Lithuanian Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) will be on duty until March 2018 (since November 2017). Formed mainly by members of the Lithuanian Navy, the unit protects World Food Programme vessel transporting humanitarian aid, majorly food, to the people in Somalia. Lithuania also continually posts an officer to the operational headquarters of the mission in the United Kingdom. The European Union launched the EUNAVFOR operation ATALANTA in 2008 to respond to the surging number of piracy cases of the Somali coast. Vessels participating in the operation escort WFP-chartered vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.


Lithuania will also continue the participation in the EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA in the Southern Central Mediterranean. Currently two officers serve aboard ITS San Giusto of the Italian Navy and one more – in the operational HQ in Rome, Italy. A Vessel Boarding Team of 15 soldiers is planned to be deployed in the second semester of 2018 – two such units formed by Lithuanian Navy, Land and Special Operations Forces soldiers have already served in the operation in 2017. Both of them carried out 3-month rotations aboard the Rhein frigate of the Germany Navy. Such units carry out the task of identifying, contacting, intercepting and boarding vessels suspected of smuggling weapons or migrants and detaining such crews and their water transport.


Two soldiers are planned to continue serving on a rotational basis in the EUTM MALI. Currently Lithuanian military instructors are serving in Koulikoro helping to develop operational capacity and interoperability of the Malian security forces to prepare it for ensuring territorial integrity of the country and counter internal attacks of terrorist groups. The mission also helps Mali enhancing military command and control capacity.


Two Lithuanian servicemembers are planned to serve in the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM CAR). One Lithuanian soldier is currently deployed to EUTM CAR.


Lithuania will further contribute to the UN-led mission MINUSMA in the Republic of Mali with 39 soldiers. Currently, 34-strong Lithuanian Land Force unit is serving in MINUSMA as of October 2017. Lithuanians are providing force protection in composition of the German Contingent.


Lithuania joined the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR) in Iraq in 2017 seeking to further develop military cooperation and international security commitments. Six military instructors will continue serving in the operation in 2018, also, deployment of an additional unit is planned.


Roughly 40 Lithuanian soldiers will continue training the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the military training mission in 2018 as well.


Photos: MoD archive

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