05/03/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/03/2019 06:24
On May 3 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis will observe May 3rd Constitution and NATO 20th Anniversary Parade in Poland. Soldiers and a flag group of the Honour Guard Company of the Lithuanian Armed Forces will march in the parade alongside soldiers of Poland and other NATO allies.
'There is no ambiguity that Poland is one of the key security and defence partners of Lithuania. We are parts of the same region and the most successful defensive Alliance in the history of the world - NATO. Since the threats from the East have increased, our countries are coherently strengthening military cooperation. My Polish counterpart Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and I are lucky to have great personal relationship that helps us solve every problem and take the bilateral military cooperation to a new level,' Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Lithuania and six more allies (Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) are celebrating their 15th anniversaries as members of NATO, and Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are marking their 20th anniversaries of NATO membership.
Lithuania and Poland are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the countries' cooperation agreement this year. In April 1994 Lithuania and Poland signed a treaty committing to develop bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual respect, trust, equality and neighbourly cooperation.
Both countries have also another celebration in common this year - the 15th anniversary as full-fledged members of the European Union, a unique economic and political family of 28 European countries, they entered on 1 May 2004.
More about the Lithuanian-Polish defence cooperation
The Lithuanian-Polish cooperation is vital to both, security of Lithuania and the entire region. Some of the most recent instances of cooperation between Lithuania and Poland are two bilateral agreements signed by both Defence Ministers on February 21 earlier this year on affiliation of Lithuanian and Polish Armed Forces' brigades to the Multinational Division North-East HQ, and on the creation of a secure communication channel for radar surveillance data exchange. The latter will help strengthening defence of the whole region together with partners by developing a unified air defence system, while the affiliation of Lithuanian and Polish brigades to a NATO division headquarters will significantly improve both countries' readiness to act together if the Suwalki Gap is defended in case of a crisis or war and will improve NATO deterrence and defence in the eastern flank of the Alliance.
In late 2018 Poland also officially joined the Lithuanian-initiated cyber response teams creation project in the framework of the European Union.
Poland is one of the most active participants of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states. Most recently the country's Air Force was in the lead of the mission from January 2019 to 2 May 2019 providing the 8th rotation of personnel and aircraft to guard the Baltic airspace.
Lithuania and Poland cooperate in the process of NATO planning, in developing Article 5 capabilities, also, in planning NATO exercises in the region.
Both countries also work together bilaterally on military procurement, for instance, the Lithuanian Armed Forces is continuing the project of acquisition of the GROM anti-aircraft defence systems from a Polish manufacturer.
Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine are developing the LITPOLUKRBRIG trilateral brigade since 2014.
Since 2003 Lithuania has been contributing to the activities of the NATO unit in Poland - the Multinational Corps Northeast, the closest military NATO corps to Lithuania geographically. Eight Lithuanian officers have been serving it its headquarters in Szczecin since 2015.Formation of the Multinational Divisional North-East HQ began in 2017. It coordinates conduct of joint military training and exercises and interoperability of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Groups in the Baltic states and Poland through national brigades at peacetime. Two Lithuanian officers have been serving at the headquarters of the Multinational Divisional North-East (MND NE ) in Elblag (Poland) since 2017.
Photo credits (related photos): Alfredas Pliadis (MoD), archive of the Ministry of National Defence of Poland