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KFOR-20 took over mission in Kosovo

2009.04.10
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April 9, rotation ceremony of NATO Kosovo Force took place in Ferizaj, Kosovo. The leaving nineteenth rotation of Lithuanian-led KFOR was replaced by KFOR-20 – the last rotation Lithuania plans to deploy to Kosovo.

 

In the ceremony Commander Multinational Task Force East Brig. Gen. Keith D. Jones farewelled KFOR-19 wishing them success in further careers, certificates of appreciation of Lt. Col. Mariusz Galeziowski, Commander of POLUKRBAT, were given to the most distinguished members of KFOR-19.

 

”You are ambassadors of Lithuania in Kosovo, and I expect you to fulfil your duties with due professionality,” said Chief of NDVF Staff Lt. Col. Vaidotas Malinionis in the ceremony for KFOR-20.

 

KFOR-20 of 30 troops is based on the NDVF Vytis Military District 5th Territorial Unit. This is the twentieth rotation Lithuania is deploying to Kosovo with the Ukrainian-Polish Battalion POLUKRBAT. Lithuania has been taking part in the NATO-led ”Joint Guardian” operation since 1999.

 

Lithuanian platoon is based in Camp Bondsteel with POLUKRBAT near Ferizaj/Urosevac in the east of Kosovo. Camp Bonsteel is the main US base in Kosovo. In the mission Lithuanian troops perform duty in KFOR check-post on the border with Macedonia, conduct patrols, and other quick response tasks.

 

Diminishing budget of Lithuanian defence and our countries efforts to fulfil military commitments to Afghanistan prompted consultations with Polish and Ukrainian partners on the possibilities to cut-down Lithuania's input in Kosovo. Lithuania foresees withdrawing the platoon and staff officers from Kosovo; however, Lithuania will strengthen participation in the NATO Training Team (NTT-K) training new national security forces to fulfil their functions. Besides, provides assistance to Kosovo in training – members of security forces are invited to study in the courses Military Academy of Lithuania organizes in Vilnius.

 

Lithuania has been taking part in NATO military operation in Kosovo for ten years. About 900 Lithuanian troops have been deployed with KFOR since 1999, around 600 of them – in composition of POLUKRBAT.

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