Monday, 5 February, Rukla, Jonava District – President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević, Dutch Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld, German State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Defense Marcus Grübel and NATO's Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller discussed the strengthening of NATO’s defense and security at the Great Lithuanian Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment in Rukla.
The meeting marked the first anniversary of the deployment of NATO’s forward presence battalion in Lithuania. Presently, the core of the battalion is comprised of German, Dutch, French, Croatian and Norwegian troops.
According to the President, the deployment of four multinational battalions in the Baltic states and Poland was a historic decision taken in Warsaw in 2016. The President stated that the troops from twenty-three allied countries deployed in the region stood for the best deterrence. It sent a very clear message that NATO was united, strong and capable of countering the emerging threats.
According to the President, every allied soldier in Lithuania was standing guard not just for us but also for the entire NATO. The military exercise “Zapad 2017” had clearly demonstrated that Russia’s hostility and aggressive policy in relation to the West was ongoing. Russia is on a continuous military high alert, which makes it possible to launch several simultaneous large-scale offensive operations against NATO. Intermediate-range missiles “Iskander” deployed on a permanent basis in the neighborhood of Lithuania, aggressive cyber-attacks, fake news and other tools of hybrid warfare pose a huge threat to our security as well as to the security of the entire continent.
According to the President, only a further reinforcement of NATO and the elimination of the current disproportion between Russia-posed threats and NATO’s defense capabilities enable us to counter the threats. This necessitates the reform of NATO aimed at developing a strategy for the reinforcement of the region, preventing a possible military isolation of the region and ensuring rapid arrival of the allied forces to the Baltic countries if needed. It is also necessary to enhance decision-making at NATO, develop regional air defense and implement the reform of NATO’s headquarters.
A ceremony of battalion’s change of command was held Rukla. The outgoing Lieutenant Colonel Thorsten Gensler ended his service in Lithuania and was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Rüdiger Otto of the German Bundeswehr.
Last updated 2018.02.05 14:48Back