Chief of Defence Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys met with his counterpart of the Czech Republic, Chief of the General Staff Gen Aleš Opata, during his work visit to Prague. Generals discussed bilateral military cooperation, Lithuanian and Czech participation in international military exercises, and military training.
One of the main highlight of the discussion was the situation created by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, NATO decisions for strengthening the security of the region and the entire eastern flank of the Alliance, and assistance to Ukraine. Just like Lithuania, the Czech Republic is rendering military assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine – different types of weapons, ammunition, medical equipment and heavy equipment (tanks and infantry fighting vehicles), in total, the worth of over EUR 40 million.
Chief of Defence thanked his Czech counterpart for the contribution of his country and the strong support in ensuring the security and deterrence for Lithuania and its people. According to Lt Gen V. Rupšys, the part of the Armed Forces makes Lithuania and the Czech Republic very akin, which opens vast perspectives for a productive military cooperation against the two countries.
“We have agreed to cooperate in the areas of electronic warfare, communication, protection against weapons of mass destruction, military medical capability development. Definitely, we have discussed the war fought against Ukraine, regional security and support to Ukraine. I have once again thanked Chief of the General Staff for the military capabilities contributed to strengthen Lithuania’s security. Nearly 1,000 Czech soldiers have been deployed to missions in Lithuania,” Chief of Defence said.
Lithuania and the Czech Republic are bound by intense bilateral military relations. Czech troops have been rotating into the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania since 2018 , the Czech Air Force JAS 39C Gripen are currently conducting the fourth Czech NATO’ Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states from Šiauliai Air Base. The Czech Republic also currently has an air defence unit deployed in Lithuania. Crews for the Lithuanian Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicles are undergoing training at the Military Academy in Vyškov. 16 crews have been certified over 2021.
In the EU cooperation formats Lithuania is a member of a Czech-initiated PESCO project for electronic warfare and interoperability capacity building. The Czech Republic had an electronic warfare unit deployed in Lithuania during Russia’s Exercise Zapad last year.
The Czech Government supported Lithuania with CZK 13.5 million (roughly EUR 530 thousand) and other kinds of aid to manage irregular migration across the Lithuania-Belarusian border, the external border of the European Union, when Belarus launched the hybrid attack last year.
The Lithuanian and the Czech Air Forces develop an intense cooperation as well: representatives of both countries annually train in international Exercises Tobruq Legacy, Ample Strike, and other. The Czech Republic trains Lithuanian air defence personnel, Lithuanian aircraft fly in Czech Air Force-arranged events.