Germany’s leadership is critical for security in the region, says Minister of National Defence A. Anušauskas
Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas, Ambassador of Germany to Lithuania Matthias Sonn and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys discussed bilateral cooperation between Lithuania an Germany, met with the leadership of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battalion Battle Group during visit to Rukla.
“We are immensely grateful for Germany’s contribution to the efforts to strengthen the security in the Baltic region, as well as its support to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The German leadership in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group is highly appreciated and, therefore, we will seek an even stronger bilateral cooperation than it has already become over the past years,” Minister A. Anušauskas said at a bilateral meeting with Ambassador of Germany.
Minister thanked Ambassador for his country’s contribution and leadership in the NATO eFP Battle Group in Lithuania – the unit whose activities are a vital part of the efforts to strengthen the regional security. “Despite the challenges and threats presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NATO Battalion is successfully pursuing its mission in Lithuania. Thank you, Germany, for the strong resolve and leadership,” Minister said.
“#StrongerTogether is the motto of our Alliance. Our enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group here in Lithuania every day proves that that’s exactly the case! As the Ambassador of Germany, I am proud that my country is able to contribute to making NATO stronger here in Lithuania day by day. For the good of all of us,” Ambassador M. Sonn said.
Germany is the framework nation of the multinational, roughly 1.2 thousand-strong NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group deployed in Lithuania since February 2017. Over 12 thousand troops from 9 different NATO allied countries have already been deployed to train in the NATO eFP Lithuania. The unit is currently manned by Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Luxembourg.
Minister A. Anušauskas also underscored at the meeting the importance of investments made by the German Government into the development of all necessary infrastructure in Lithuania. “We particularly value Germany’s investment into military infrastructure; on our behalf, we also invest to provide better service conditions to both, allied and Lithuanian military personnel. The consistent increase in defence spending will ensure further capability modernisation, infrastructure development, and provision to military personnel,” he said.
In the recent years a field camp for 500 persons and target systems for IFVs were set up at the Lithuanian Armed Forces Training Area in Pabradė on German funds, as well as a welfare facility, munitions warehouses, temporary and permanent logistical provision grounds, and more infrastructure at Rukla. Germany has spent over EUR 62.3 million in 2017 – 2018 on developing infrastructure for NATO eFP training in Lithuania, roughly EUR 87.4 million more is planned to be spent in 2019 – 2021.
Germany is also Lithuanian’s longstanding and close ally in weaponry and other military equipment acquisitions: Lithuania is buying the Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Pz2000 self-propelled howitzers, M577 armoured personnel carriers, etc., from Germany.
Germany’s military contribution is also held in high esteem because of the intense participation in the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States (German aircrews are patrolling the Baltic skies the 11th time at the moment), and activities of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius.
Photo credits: Giedrė Maksimovicz-Alkema