On June 21 Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas met with Minister of Defence of Denmark Peter Christensen in Rukla (Jonava distr.) and underscored the continuity of close cooperation between Denmark and Lithuania.
“Denmark has been a special partner in the development of its armed forces since the very beginning. Over 20 years past, Danish troops are still by our side, still backing us in the face of new threats. We will continue developing close military cooperation between Lithuania and Denmark and build on mutual understanding in joint exercises,” Minister J.Olekas said at the meeting.
The meeting Ministers attended the closing ceremony of Exercise Iron Wolf 2016 in Gaižiūnai Training Area which trained roughly 1,500 soldiers from Denmark, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the US to operate together.
The Ministers also met with Denmark’s soldiers, the largest contingent one country had sent to Exercise Saber Strike 2016 – roughly 1.2 thousand troops and over 500 combat and logistical materiel. This is the second time that Denmark deploys over 1 thousand soldiers to Lithuania.
A battalion task force formed by the 2nd Danish Division, with a company of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in composition, underwent certification for standby for the UK-led Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017 at Exercise Iron Wolf 2016. The Lithuanian company which was training as part of the battalion task force is formed by soldiers with the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised infantry Battalion.
Multinational Exercise Iron Wolf 2016 is a part of Exercise Saber Strike 2016.
The Ministers discussed agenda of the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw on July 8-9, assistance to Ukraine, migration crisis in Europe.
Military cooperation between Lithuania and Denmark
In 2015 Lithuania and Denmark updated the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding which replaced the previous agreements on defence cooperation endorsed in 1994. Since Lithuania first joined a peacekeeping operation in 1994, over a thousand of Lithuanian soldiers were trained for the purpose with Danish assistance. Lithuanians were assigned to the Danish Contingent to deploy in the multinational operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iraq, and Kosovo, while Denmark's troops served in composition of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor province, Afghanistan. Currently Lithuanian and Danish military personnel are serving side by side in the EU Training mission in Mali.
Denmark has great merits in training and arming the Artillery Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, this ally continually renders assistance by arranging training events for Lithuanian military, joint military exercises, and deploying Danish soldiers to take part in military exercises held in Lithuania. Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, Lithuanian Armed Forces, has been affiliated to the Danish Army Division (DDIV) as part of bilateral LITBRIG project since 2006, which increases the ability of both countries to carry out joint operations, and gives Lithuanian soldiers the opportunity to train in NATO exercises and training as part of a division.
Danish officer Colonel Jakob Sogard Larsen is in command of the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) established in Vilnius last year.
The Danish Royal Air Force has deployed four rotations of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission and one augmentation of 6 fighter aircraft (in May-August 2014) since 2004 so far.