Rukla, LTU - On 5 February an official ceremony, held at the Jonusas Radvila Training Regiment, marked the first anniversary of the deployment of the German-led enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup to Lithuania.
For the occasion, troops from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Croatia and France formed up on the parade area and were congratulated by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitè, the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, Allied representatives, defence ministers and chiefs of defence from Lithuania and eFP contributing nations.
Commander JFC Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina, also attended the ceremony as the NATO Operational Commander, to pay tribute to the multinational troops one year after welcoming them upon their arrival in Lithuania.
The ceremony also involved the change of command of the eFP Battlegroup, with the outgoing commander of the German forces, Lieutenant Colonel Thorsten Gensler, handing over to his successor, Lieutenant Colonel Wolf Rudiger Otto.
The multinational forces in Lithuania are led by Germany, supported by troops from Croatia, France, the Netherlands and Norway. The battlegroup, which first deployed in January 2017, is fully integrated into the Lithuanian Armed Forces Mechanised Infantry Brigade 'Iron Wolf'.
"After one year we can be fully satisfied of the results so far achieved" – General Farina said while congratulating the outgoing and the incoming battlegroup Commanders - "and we are continuing to work to joint enable the eFP battlegroup as well as the Lithuanian Brigade".
The decision by NATO nations to deploy multinational battlegroups to Lithuania, as well as to Estonia, Latvia and Poland, is part of the overall NATO deterrence and defence posture; it is a strong demonstration of allied solidarity, resolve and NATO's ability to react immediately to any potential aggression.
Story by Public Affairs Office JFC Brunssum