Another US battalion set to arrive in Lithuania for six months in November – ministry

  • 2020-09-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Another US battalion should be deployed in Lithuania in November and stay until late June, Lithuania's Ministry of National defense said on Tuesday.

A US battalion is now training in Lithuania, and Minister of National Defense Raimundas Karoblis and US Ambassador to Lithuania Robert S. Gilchrist on Tuesday visited the General Zukauskas Training Area in Pabrade to greet the new rotation of US soldiers.

"Defense cooperation between Lithuania and the United States remains particularly strong and intense, and deployment of a new rotation of the U.S. Battalion affirms again the strength of the Lithuanian-U.S. defense cooperation. U.S., as well as NATO, presence is a critical factor for our security," Karoblis said in a statement issued by the ministry.

In his turn, the US ambassador underlined that this training is held according to a schedule and does not reflect the recent changes in the situation in the region. "I will reiterate the observation of the U.S. Secretary of the Army during his visit in Lithuania in July, this is an excellent venue for complex training, strengthening interoperability with partners, and increasing our readiness in the region," the ambassador said.

The US soldiers are deployed to Lithuania for several weeks of training and they arrived in early September, deployed as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve of the U.S. Army in the eastern part of the Alliance.

The 2nd Brigade, 69th Regiment, 2nd Battalion is planned to rotate out and to be replaced by next heavy U.S. battalion in November, the new rotation will stay until the end of June.

Lithuania seeks to ensure that allied forces are able to train effectively, to maintain readiness, and to serve as a means of deterrence in Lithuania, therefore national defence budget is used to expand military training areas and improve their infrastructure. Additional investments are made to improve military mobility, for instance, a new railhead of Pazeimene railway line near the Pabrade Training Area was unveiled this spring to facilitate deployment of NATO allies’ equipment and weaponry to Lithuania.

The U.S. has also invested into military installations in Lithuanian training areas: several projects have been completed in Pabrade, Rukla, and Kazlu Ruda, such as marksman and sniper, light infantry and heavy machine-gun, and infantry fighting vehicle ranges, maintenance depot, and other training and maintenance infrastructure.