News

2017.02.08 08:49

Lithuanian President welcomes the NATO battalion in Rukla

Algirdas Acus2017.02.08 08:49

We highly value the solidarity demonstrated by our Allies. We are grateful to Germany for taking the lead of the multinational battalion in Lithuania’ said president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė during the welcoming ceremony at the Rukla military base located nearby the second biggest Lithuanian city Kaunas.

Grybauskaitė was joined by the German minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, who said during the ceremony that Lithuania will never again stand alone.

The German troops will head up a force including Belgian, Dutch and French soldiers, among other nations, that will reach full strength of some 1,200 members this spring.

The international battalion is one of four NATO is providing on a rotational basis to Lithuania. Three similar NATO units, led by the US, Canada and Britain, will be deployed this year in Poland, Latvia and Estonia.

The countries requested the presence of troops, after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

In recent years, Lithuania has purchased about half a billion euros' worth of German-made armoured vehicles, artillery and military trucks.
 

Shotlist
Shots from ceremony

Sound bite (English)

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania:

We highly value the solidarity demonstrated by our Allies. We are grateful to Germany for taking the lead of the multinational battalion in Lithuania. And today we welcome soldiers from the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. We are also grateful to Luxembourg, Norway, France and Croatia for their commitment and contribution.

Cutaway

Sound bite (English)

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, German Minister of Defence:

Next year you, the freedom loving people of this proud country, will celebrate the centenary of your independence in modern times. Yet from the very beginning your freedom had been under threat. Lithuania stood alone against powerful neighbours. (Minister further says that Lithuania will never again stand alone, but LRT cameraman cut the recording before she said that)

Grybauskaitė meets von der Leyen

Sound bite (English)

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, German Minister of Defence:

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