On July 25 new Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Valdemaras Rupšys was inaugurated at a ceremony in Vilnius. President of the Republic of Lithuania and Commander-in-Chief Gitanas Nausėda passed on the flag of the Lithuanian Armed Forces from the outgoing to the incoming Chief of Defence in front of the all colours of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and Brigades parade in the Cathedral Square.
“The most exhilarating thing about today is probably that Lt Gen Vytautas Žukas is handing over to Maj Gen Valdemaras Rupšys the responsibilities when the Armed Forces are of a markedly different quality in comparison to that five years ago. The challenges waiting for the new Chief of Defence are not smaller because further capability development is ahead. Important projects are only going fluently on paper, Maj Gen V. Rupšys will have an extremely responsible task to ensure continuity and completion of the ongoing processes,” acting Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said congratulating the new Chief of Defence.
“Every leader brigs his vision, ideas and novelties. We can only expect progress when leaders have enough insight to see the opportunity for change and courage and intelligence to implement it,” R. Karoblis underscored addressing the attendance.
The Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania on the appointment of General Major V. Rupšys as the Chief of Defence of Lithuania was read at the ceremony, the incoming Chief of Defence took the oath to defend the integrity of the territory of Lithuania and to strengthen the Lithuanian Armed Forces and was presented by the President with the regalia of authority – the flag, sceptre, and the badge of the Chief of Defence.
Maj Gen V. Rupšys joined the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 1990 and had been in charge of different units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, headed the Human Resources Department of the Ministry of National Defence, etc. He was appointed as Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force in 2016 and promoted to major general after two years. V. Rupšys is an alumnus of the General Jonas Žemaits Military Academy of Lithuania, Baltic Defence College (Estonia), U.S. Army War College. On July 18 the Seimas approved Major General Valdemaras Rupšys as the next Chief of Defence. He took over the regalia of authority from the stepping down Chief of Defence Lt Gen Jonas Vytautas Žukas who had led the Lithuanian Armed Forces since 2014.
“Today I can state with certainty that the Lithuanian Armed Forces is the place you can find really many patriotic people at, it is a healthy body. Patriotism is not limited to talk here. It is robust, sincere and unbreakable. It has been tested many times: thousands of our soldiers have deployed and are deploying to different multinational operations, training in exercises and are fulfilling their duty to the Motherland with integrity despite challenges and stand ready to defend it. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to serve with all of you,” outgoing Chief of Defence Lt Gen Jonas Vytautas Žukas farewelling the troops. The stepping down Chief of Defence farewelled the parade and left the square accompanied by applause.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Chief of Defence is appointed by the President of the Republic of Lithuania for the maximal tenure of five years. The key peacetime mission of the Chief of Defence is to prepare the Armed Forces for armed state defence.