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Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel paid a visit to her country’s troops in Rukla


On September 14 Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, visited soldiers of Germany serving in Rukla and in charge of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania. Head of the Federal Government was also accompanied by Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas.


Germany has been the first ally to take the responsibility in implementing the deterrence measure agreed to at the Warsaw Summit and decide to become the lead nation in forming a NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania in the context of continuing Russian provocations, aggressive conduct and threat against Lithuania and the Baltic states.


Germany’s contribution to the development of Lithuania’s defence capabilities is particularly substantial. It is also a longstanding and close partner of Lithuania in upgrading military forces, weaponry, and military equipment – Lithuania is buying Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Pz 2000 self-propelled howitzers, M577 armoured personnel carriers, etc., from Germany. The country is also sending rotations of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states and officers to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Lithuania.


Germany had been leading the NATO eFP Battle Group in Rukla deployed for deterrence and defence purposes since the beginning of 2017. Its personnel contribution is over half a thousand troops with weapons and equipment, the largest part of the eFP strength among the contributing nations. The NATO eFP in Rukla is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Rene Braun, commander of the German Army Tank Battalion.


Personnel and weapons to the NATO eFP Battle Group are also contributed by Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway, and Iceland. In total, the strength of the multinational unit is over 1,200.


The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group maintains its high readiness and interoperability level through constant training and preparation for collective defence. The international unit is integrated into the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and deployed with Training Regiment in Rukla, and continually trains in collective defence training events and exercises.


Deployment of NATO enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland was a decision of NATO leaders taken in July 2016. The forces are primarily a response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, build-up of military potential and demonstration of military might in the region.


Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis (MoD)

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