Since the start of the Russian military aggression in Ukraine in 2014, Lithuania has been actively supporting the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and providing all possible and legally permitted forms of assistance, including military. The assistance to the country at war began with medical treatment and rehabilitation of injured soldiers; in 2017 it was expanded to military training missions that are a platform for Lithuanian Armed Forces instructors to help Ukrainians reform and train its armed forces side by side with the allies.
“The Lithuanian Armed Forces has already walked this road when preparing for NATO membership: international instructors helped it meet the required military standards. Since Ukraine asked, our soldiers have been sharing knowledge with Ukrainian soldiers and commanders. The experience gained in international operations and service abroad enables them to render a firm and professional assistance. It is certainly important that we are learning and adopting their experience as well – Ukraine is still at war, they have recent now-how which is relevant to our national defence,” Chief of Defence Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys says.
Lithuanian troops deploy on roughly 9-month long missions to share their skills and experience in the areas of collective and individual training organisations, operational planning and management, in order to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine to meet the standards NATO requires. Lithuanian instructors are training not the entirety of the Ukrainian military but lower and mid-level leaders, sergeants and officers, who later transfer the knowledge to their troops.
More than 20 rotations of Lithuanian instructors have already deployed to Ukraine since 2017 to help train National Guard and regular units. Typically, every new rotation is instructing Ukrainian colleagues on operational planning, individual skills and individual skill training at training centers in Ukraine alongside soldiers of the United States, Canada and Poland.
Soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force, Training and Doctrine Command, Special Operations Forces and the Military Police have delivered over 120 different courses thus helping to train over 4,000 instructors for the Ground Forces, Military Police and Special Forces of Ukraine over the past four years. Lithuanian Armed Forces instructors have also established a Lessons Learned Centre, and institution for analysis of military experience and providing recommendations on improving military training. Lithuanians and Canadians also helped Ukraine to establish a Sniper Training Centre and put together training programmes for it.
Soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are invited to study in a variety of military courses in Lithuania and the Baltic states: Lithuania funds tactical level courses for Ukrainian officers at the Military Academy of Lithuania and operational level courses – at the Baltic Defence College in Estonia. Lithuania also handed over components of weaponry and ammunition to Ukraine and provides medical treatment to injured Ukrainian soldiers in Lithuania.
Information credits: Lithuania Armed Forces
Photo credits: Sgt Spct 1st Class Ieva Budzeikaitė