NATO Deputy Secretary General marks fifth anniversary of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană visited NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Rukla, Lithuania on Wednesday (9 February) to participate in a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
Alongside President Gitanas Nausėda, the Chair of the Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer and senior diplomats, the Deputy Secretary General thanked Lithuania for hosting NATO forces and commended the troops for their service and sacrifice. He said the four multinational battlegroups deployed in the eastern part of the Alliance send a powerful signal of NATO’s unity and the continuing strength of the transatlantic bond, with “soldiers from North America and Europe standing together to protect our Alliance.”
In Lithuania, Germany leads forces from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. The battlegroup serves alongside Lithuanian troops to defend the Alliance and deter any possible aggression. Together with three other battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia and Poland, these forces form part of the biggest reinforcement to NATO’s collective defence in a generation. They were fully deployed in 2017 in response to Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine.
During his two-day visit to Lithuania, which began on Tuesday (8 February 2022), the Deputy Secretary General also met with President Gitanas Nausėda, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and senior officials in Vilnius for talks on Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine. Mr. Geoană reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to the security of the Baltic region and thanked Lithuania for its contributions to the Alliance.
The Deputy Secretary General also participated in a public panel discussion on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence. Mr. Geoană stressed that Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine underlines the importance of this presence and NATO’s ongoing adaptation.