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News archive (2004 - 12)

Lithuania ready to take an active part in the development of EU Rapid Reaction Force

Lithuania is ready to take an active part in the development of the European Union's Rapid Reaction Force. That was expressed by the new Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Gediminas Kirkilas, at a meeting with the Chairman of EU Military Committee, General Rolando Mosca Moschini, who was on 16 December with an official visit in Lithuania.


Lithuania will offer specialised capabilities together with Poland, Germany, Slovakia and Latvia for the creation of a battle group. The joint–Polish led group might be established after 2009. Lithuania is also ready to dedicate capabilities to the joint group with the Netherlands, Germany and Finland. A concrete contribution of Lithuania is still under consideration, however it is clear that it will be the same capabilities that have been dedicated to NATO. It is planned that a total of 13 EU high-readiness multinational battle groups for individual involvement in operations will be developed. The first two groups are expected to become operational next year, and another two in 2006.

Chairman of EU Military Committee to visit Lithuania

On Thursday, 16 December the Chairman of European Union Military Committee Rolando Mosca Moschini will be with an official visit to Lithuania.

During the visit, the high-ranking guest is scheduled to meet with the National Defence Minister, Gediminas Kirkilas, Commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Major General Valdas Tutkus.

The meetings will cover issues related to Lithuania's participation in the development of Battle Groups of EU Rapid Response Force and to discuss aspects of the EU Security and Defence Policy as well as co-operation between EU and NATO military structures

An official change of ministers' ceremony conducted at the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence

On Wednesday, 15 December an official change of National Defence Ministers' ceremony was held at the Ministry of National Defence. The outgoing Minister of Defence Linas Linkevičius has been succeeded by Gediminas Kirkilas (biography). During the ceremony, the flag of the Ministry of National Defence and authority regalia were handed over to the newly appointed Minister.

Commander of the Danish Land Force to come for an official visit to Lithuania

Between 10-11 December the Danish Land Force Commander, Major General Poul Kiaerskou, will be with an official visit in Lithuania.

The high-ranking guest is scheduled to meet with Undersecretary of the National Defence, Renatas Norkus, Commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Major General Valdas Tutkus, Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force, Brigadier General Arvydas Pocius. The visit agenda will also include visits to the Headquarters of the Motorised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, the Lithuanian Grand Duke Motorised Infantry Battalion and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion.

Major General Kiaerskou together with the leadership of the Lithuanian National Defence System will discuss the countries' involvment in international operations. At the moment, over 50 Lithuanian troops serve within the Danish contingent as part of the international operation in Iraq; one officer attends a mission in the province of Kosovo.

A Lithuanian officer to command the Baltic Defence College

On Thursday, 9 December an official change of command ceremony of the Baltic Defence College will be held in Tartu, Estonia, when the command will be assumed by the Baltic countries.


Deputy Commandant Lithuanian Brigadier General Algis Vaičeliūnas will replace in the position the outgoing Commandant Danish Brigadier General Michael Hesselholt Clemmesen who has been directing the Baltic Defence College since its founding.

Swedish project to support Lithuanian Land Forces completed

On Wednesday, 8 December a closing ceremony, designed to mark completion of the Swedish assistance project to the Lithuanian Land Forces, will be held at the Kestutis Infantry Battalion, based in Taurage, the Western city of Lithuania. According to the project, which started in 2001, Sweden has donated weaponry and military technical equipment in the size of two infantry battalions and engineer, staff and logistics companies to Lithuania; provided training in how to operate the handed over technical equipment.

The first unit of the Lithuanian Land Forces to be equipped with technical equipment and weaponry donated by the Sweden Armed Forces was the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Training Battalion of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces in Klaipeda, thereafter equipment and weaponry were delivered to the Lithuanian Grand Duke Kestutis Motorised Infantry Battalion in Taurage.

Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence experts to visit Azerbaijan

Between 3-6 December, a team of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence experts will be in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they are to meet with representatives of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence and General Staff.

The meeting will focus on issues covering bilateral co-operation, regional security in the South Caucasus region, studies of Azerbaijani military personnel at the Lithuanian Military Academy and the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia, participation in international operations, and on-going military reforms.

The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has committed itself to implement support and stability policy in the countries of the South Caucasus region. The present visit is a supplementary measure for making a more accurate assessment of Azerbaijan needs in its NATO integration bids and other fields. During the visit, a bilateral co-operation agreement for the year 2005 is also expected to be signed.

Lithuanian special force troops returned home upon completing mission in Afghanistan

On Tuesday, 30 November, troops from the Special Operations Unit Aitvaras of the Lithuanian Armed Forces returned home upon completing their four-month mission in Afghanistan. Lithuanian troops attended the international Operation Enduring Freedom.

The US military command of the international Operation Enduring Freedom and coalition partners often commended the professionalism shown by Lithuanian soldiers and their ability to implement the most demanding tasks. The US military command awarded several troops of the Aitvaras unit with Medals for Merits. The most distinguished troops of the Special Operation Unit will be granted state awards.

That was the fourth involvement of the Lithuanian Special Operations in the international operation Enduring Freedom since 2002.

Poland starts preparing for undertaking the Baltic air-policing mission
 More than a year left until the planned mission, Polish defence officials have started preparing for participating in the Baltic air-policing mission. This subject was discussed at a meeting of senior officials of Ministries of Defence of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Warsaw, Poland. At the meeting, Lithuania was represented by Undersecretary of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence, Renatas Norkus.

A Polish contingent mission in the Zokniai-based airport of the Lithuanian Armed Forces is scheduled to take place in January-March 2006.

Polish military aviators are planning to control the Baltic airspace with soviet-made supersonic MiG-29 fighter planes, which were received by the Polish Armed Forces from the German Air Force a few years ago.

According to Renatas Norkus, it is planned that Polish military experts will come to Lithuania to familiarise with of air policing mission conditions.

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