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Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe commends Lithuania for the efforts to strengthen national security

2017.03.01
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On March 1 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas discussed security situation in the region, further plans for the implementation of NATO deterrence measures in Lithuania, deployment of NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and military training, and U.S. interaction with the NATO eFP battalion at a meeting with Commander of the U.S. Army Europe Lieutenant General Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Hodges.

 

“I very much appreciate the U.S. support to ensuring security in Lithuania. We aim to deter and train to resist potential threats to our country together with the U.S. and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion already here. We will keep strengthening our defence capabilities and work side by side with our allies to develop assurance measures that the security situation in the region is calling for,” Minister of National Defence said.

 

Chief of Defence thanked the U.S. General and all American soldiers for the benevolent military cooperation and the weighty contribution to the enhancement of Lithuania’s security. “The U.S. approach to allied commitments is worthy of respect and embracing,” Chief of Defence said.

 

Commander of the U.S. Army Europe Lt Gen F.B. Hodges congratulate Lithuania for the job well done in strengthening national security, improving armed forces service conditions, modernisation of the armed forces, and arranging exercises. General also underscored the excellent cooperation between Lithuanian and American forces in Afghanistan.

General Hodges also thanked Lithuania for providing excellent conditions for the deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion in Lithuania. “You are an excellent example,” Gen Hodges said while underlining that the battalion was deployed in Lithuania within seven months after the decision was made in July 2016 at the NATO Summit in Warsaw to deploy battalion battlegroups in the Baltic States and Poland.

 

At the meeting General also addressed joint combat training of Lithuanian, U.S., and other NATO allies’ forces in Lithuania and military training exercises scheduled for this year.

 

After the meeting in Vilnius LT Gen F. B. Hodges and Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force Brigadier General Valdemaras Rupšys left for Rukla (Jonava district) to meet with leadership of the NATO eFP battalion in Lithuania, and Lithuanian and American rotational troops training together.

 

The U.S. rotational troops are deployed in Lithuania to train alongside our forces as part of operation Atlantic Resolve the United States conducts in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. The operation was launched in spring 2014 in response to the changed security situation after the Russian aggression in Ukraine and in order to strengthen assurance measures in the eastern flank of the Alliance and demonstrate support to the Baltic states. The present rotation is formed by approx. 120 soldiers with 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Europe. This rotation in Lithuania operates roughly 10 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 5 M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and other equipment.

 

The NATO enhanced Forward Presence battalion battle group 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 battle groups are also deployed to enhance allied presence in the eastern flank of the Alliance in Estonia, Latvia and Poland as of 2017.

 

Credits: Alfredas Pliadis

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