Lithuania's Honor Guard Company at the front of Bastille Day parade

Lithuania's Honor Guard Company at the front of Bastille Day parade

On June 14 the Honor Guard company of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas Headquarters Battalion, Lithuanian Armed Forces, represented Lithuania at the celebration of France’s national holiday – Bastille Day in Paris. A contingent of 13 Honor Guard Company members, color guard and representatives in the combined foreigners’ parade, marched down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées alongside military personnel of France and 8 other Allies – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, past the audience of thousands Parisians and guests. It has been the second time Lithuanian military have been invited to the honorable parade in Paris: in 2007 the Lithuanian Honor Guard Company attended at the invitation of Prescient Nicolas Sarcozy.

Participation is similar events is one of the regular tasks of the Honor Guard Company: they annually represent Lithuanian in parades in Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and sometimes – in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and elsewhere. The other part of its tasks are combat as part of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas Battalion. When free of scheduled solemn events, troops carry out tactical training getting ready for combat missions – force protection and a portion of reconnaissance tasks.

The traditional Bastille Day parade this year highlights Ukraine as it has fallen victim to the Russian aggression. France’s commitments to NATO and the Allies were underscored right at the opening of the parade, Eastern Allies were marching in the front position of the parade carrying their national colors. They were joined by members of the multinational contingent deployed to Romania in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The show of force of France included 6300 military marching in the parade, 71 aircraft, 25 helicopters, 221 tactical vehicles and 200 horses.

Lithuania cooperates with France across different security and defence formats – nearly 1,000 French troops were deployed with the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in 2018 and 2020, and ensures security of the Baltic skies with other Allies through the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states. Lithuanian and French troops deploy together to multinational operations in the Central African Republic and in Mali. French warships annually carry out demining at Exercise Open Spirit in the Baltic Sea.