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Second Lithuanian rotation formally deployed to the United Nations-led Operation MINUSMA in Mali


On January 26 a deployment ceremony was held in Panevėžys for the second rotation of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Force Protection Unit sent to serve in the UN-led stability operation MINUSMA in Mali.


The second Force Protection Unit rotation includes 34 professional military service soldiers and soldiers with the 5th Territorial Unit, Vytis Military District, National Defence Volunteer Force. They will replace their colleagues from the 6th Territorial Unit, Resurrection Military District, National Defence Volunteer Force, and serve as part of the German Contingent in the area of operation. Lithuanian soldiers’ task in the operation is to ensure force security within the military base compound in Gao province, eastern part of Mali.


Apart from the Force Protection Unit and the National Support Element, 5 more Lithuanian soldiers are serving in the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako and Timbuktu. Lithuanian servicemembers are not involved in combat actions in Operation MINUSMA.


The ceremony in Panevėžys was attended by the leadership of the Lithuanian Land Force, representatives of Panevėžys city and district authorities, soldiers’ families, and other guests. Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force Brigadier General Valdemaras Rupšys presented the state flag of Lithuania to the officer in command of the rotation and keepsakes for the troops at the ceremony.


Next week after the deployment ceremony the NDVF soldiers will undergo the final operational briefing at the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. They will physically deploy to the area of operation in early February via Germany where they will join the German Contingent and proceed to Mali as part of the German unit by military air transport. The first Lithuanian rotation is expected to return to Lithuania by the end of February after successfully completing transfer of duties to the incoming rotation.


As an active and responsible member of the international community, Lithuania supports its efforts to maintain peace and stability worldwide, to prevent interstate and ethnic conflicts, to solve protracted conflicts, and to fight international terrorism. In 2016 Lithuania strengthened its contribution to the UN-led stability operation MINUSMA in Mali by sending a 34-strong Land Force unit as of October 2017.


The UN launched the Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission MINUSMA in Mali in 2013. MINUSMA is designed to stabilise the situation in the country, to support the implementation of the transition action plan, to protect civilian population, to promote and protect human rights, arrange humanitarian assistance, preservation of cultural heritage, and help ensure justice and national and international levels.


Lithuanian’s troop contribution to MINUSMA is an input into international efforts to stabilise the situation in Mali, to support the implementation of the transitional period action plan, to protect civilian population, to promote and ensure human rights, to contribute to rendering of humanitarian assistance, to help preserve national cultural heritage, and ensure justice at national and international levels.


MINUSMA is not the only multinational deployment for Lithuanian troops in Mali. Lithuania contributes to the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) since 2013, three Lithuanian soldiers rotated on a yearly basis to help train Malian colleagues until 2016, and two – until present.


Photo credits: Pte 1st Class Michail Lysenko (NDVF)

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