VILNIUS – EU defense ministers agreed on Tuesday to launch a military assistance mission to Ukraine as the country is fighting against Russian invasion, Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense said.
The mission will aim to respond to Ukraine's current needs and train 15,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, with all activities under the new military assistance mission to be held within the territory of EU member states.
"We have reached an important political agreement on the launch of the mission and it is essential to start implementing it immediately. The mission's implementation is based on three core principles: Ukraine's needs, effective coordination and further arms assistance," National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said in a statement.
"The EU military assistance mission is an important step that will contribute to Ukraine's final victory and the recovery of all occupied territories. Lithuania will contribute to the tasks of this mission with all necessary resources and will continue its support to Ukraine under the bilateral and other multilateral formats," he added.
Lithuania plans to train around 1,000 Ukrainian troops next year, and some of them will be trained during the EU military mission.
Together with its partners, Lithuania will provide basic military courses, training for junior commanders, chemical and radiation protection training, as well as training for paramedics, artillerymen, military policemen and special forces. Together with the Nordic countries, Lithuania will contribute to the training of Ukrainian troops in bombing and mine clearance.
The EU mission's initial mandate is two years, and it can be extended, if necessary, the ministry said.