On February 9 NATO eFP BG begins its deployment in Lithuania. The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Multinational Battle Group (eFP BG) command was be transferred at a Hand Over–Take Over and rotation ceremony at the Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment at Rukla.
“I am grateful to NATO eFP Battalion commanders and troops for the service in Lithuania. Nothing is as strong as unity of colors, equipment, vehicles, ideas and hearts as they seek common goal. We are sending out a message today that we are and we will always be together,” said Chief of Defence Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys addressing the troops.
Next, the 13th rotation of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Multinational Battle Group (eFP BG), will serve under command of Lt Col Lars Neitzel of the Bundeswehr who succeeds Lt Col Marc Maulbecker, commander of the 12th rotation which was in service since August. The new eFP rotation is formed by the military of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and after a six-month break – Croatia. The current strength of the eFP BG Lithuania is approx. 1600 troops.
“We are thankful to Germany and other nations contributing to the NATO eFP for increasing their troop levels and capabilities in Lithuania when the Russian war in Ukraine began. It is critical that eFP rotations remain reinforced to 1600 members: it is a significant increase in deterrent effect. In our turn, we continue improving the conditions offered to deploying Allies and we will aim to achieve practical deliverables concerning Forward Defence and Allied commitments to our country at the NATO Summit in Vilnius in June,” says Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.
The ceremony will be attended by Vice Minister of National Defence Žilvinas Tomkus, Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys, Commander Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf Col Aurelijus Motiejūnas.
Germany is the framework nation of the NATO eFP Lithuania and contributes the most significant contingent. Over 15 thousand troops have been rotated in to train in the NATO eFP BG Lithuania since its establishment alongside our troops from 9 NATO Allies: Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Croatia, Luxembourg and Iceland. NATO eFP BG training encompasses defensive and offensive actions. .
NATO took the decision to deploy forward presence forces at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016, first forces of the combat-ready NATO unit deployed to Lithuania in the beginning of 2017. The NATO eFP BG is deployed in Rukla (Jonava region) and integrated into the Lithuanian Armed Forces Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf. Allied troops are executing a combat training cycle side by side with the Lithuanian. Germany has provided the eFP BG Lithuania command since its deployment. It is an effective measure of deterrence: NATO presence in the Baltic states and Poland is critical for regional defence in the event of military aggression.
Photo credits: SSgt SPc I.Budzeikaitė