On June 20-21 Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas will be conducting a formal visit to Poland at the invitation of Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces General Leszek Surawski.
On June 21 Lt Gen J. V. Žukas will lay flower tributes at the tomb to the unknown soldier memorial in Warsaw in honour of the fallen Polish soldiers. Then his formal welcome at the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces and formal meetings with the Chief and representatives from departments of the General Staff will take place.
The meetings are planned to address regional security situation, bilateral and multilateral military cooperation. Joint military exercises and multinational operations, air defence provision in the region, defence of the Suwalki Corridor, NATO and US contribution to regional security, countries’ readiness for collective defence, trilateral Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade and assistance to Ukraine, will be discussed in that context.
Lithuanian-Polish defence cooperation
Defence cooperation with Poland is crucial for the security of both, Lithuania and the region. Lithuania has been intensely developing relations with Poland in military area since 1993.
Poland is one of the most active contributors to the NATO Air Policing Mission. Since 2005, already seven Polish rotations have been deployed to the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai, and new ones are planned for 2019 and 2020. Poland has also deployed rotational forces twice since 2016 to train in Lithuania as part of the NATO assurance measures.
Lithuania and Poland actively cooperate by sending troops to participate in international exercises in each other’s territories. Lithuanian and Polish militaries are constantly developing cooperation at various levels of staffs, military education institutions and military units. The countries also cooperate in defence procurement area, i.e., in 2014 the Lithuanian Armed Forces bought GROM anti-aircraft defence systems from a Polish manufacturer through mediation of the Polish Armed Forces. THE project is planned to be completed by 2021.
Lithuania and Poland established a joint brigade, LITPOLUKRBRIG with Ukraine based in Szczecin, Poland, in 2014. Last year the Brigade was named after Great Hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Konstantinas Ostrogiškis, and Ministers of Defence agreed that the Brigade might be used in multinational operations in line with international principles and legal regulations. Lithuania assigned soldiers of the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion to the Brigade, and also 5 Lithuanian officers are constantly serving at its headquarters, one of them is the Chief of the Brigade Staff.
Lithuania has been taking part in the activities of the NATO Multinational Corps Northeast based in Poland since 2003. Currently 7 Lithuanian officers are serving at the Szczecin-based HQ of the corps responsible for security in the Alliance’s northeastern region.