New NATO battalion rotation begins service in Lithuania

  • 2023-08-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - A new 14th rotation of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group Lithuania has started its service in Lithuania.

A change of command ceremony took place on Wednesday at the Great Lithuanian Hetman Jonusas Radvila Training Regiment in Rukla.

"Our security environment is not improving as Russia continues its war against Ukraine and is seriously undermining Euro-Atlantic security. This requires us to be vigilant and ready to adapt NATO's regional defense posture," Defense Vice Minister Zilvinas Tomkus said at the ceremony.

In such a security situation, Lithuania is particularly grateful to the troops of the NATO eFP Battle Group in Lithuania, he said.

"Their service in Lithuania is a sign of unwavering allied resolve and strong commitment to NATO's collective defense," Tomkus said.

The new rotation will serve under the command of led by Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Kirchner of the German Armed Forces, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Lars Neitzel who was in command since February.

According to the army, up to 1,600 allied troops will be deployed in Rukla with Leopard tanks, CV90 and Boxer IFVs.

The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group has been deployed in Lithuania since February 2017 in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and military activity in the region.

Germany, which leads the group, is contributing the largest number of troops, while the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg have also sent their troops to the new rotation.