After the conclusion of the operation in Mali Lithuania remains an important Ally in multinational missions

After the conclusion of the operation in Mali Lithuania remains an important Ally in...

October 13, 42 servicemembers of the 6 Territorial Unit, Resurrection Military District, National Defence Volunteer Force, were decorated in a homecoming ceremony with Medals for International Deployments after the United Nations mission in Mali. The 13th Force Protection Unit (FPU) served in composition of the German Contingent in the province of Gao, eastern part of the Republic of Mali, and became the last rotation to be deployed to the Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) as the German Contingent terminates participation in the multinational operation.

“MINUSMA is terminate until the end of this year, so the Lithuanian Contingent was withdrawn in late September in coordination with our Ally Germany and the United Nations. The mission has been an experience of seven years rich in successful international cooperation, intense coordination of actions and lessons learned. The commitment to fight terrorism side by side with the Allies remains among Lithuania’s priorities, and a relevant one with regard to the recent developments in Israel. We will continue active participation in multinational operations,” said Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas welcoming troops home.

The homecoming ceremony was attended by Chief of Defence Gen Valdemaras Rupšys, Vice Minister of National Defence Greta Monika Tučkutė, Commander of the Bundeswehr Operations Command Lt Gen Bernd Schütt, Chief of the Defence Staff Maj Gen Mindaugas Steponavičius, National Defence Volunteer Force Commander Col Darius Vaicikauskas, NDVF Territorial Unit Commanders, family members of the homecoming troops and other dignitaries.

“The servicemembers have represented Lithuania excellently in the mission and they continue to do so in other missions, thus contributing in strengthening the Lithuanian Armed Forces and defence. If we wish to live a safe world, we have to share in the efforts of building security. The seven years in this international operation has given our soldiers and leadership valuable military experience and made them grow,” noted Gen V. Rupšys in his address.

Commander of the Bundeswehr Operations Command Lt Gen Bernd Schütt underscored for the last MINUSMA contingent the multi-year successful and mutually beneficial collaboration. “It is essential to preserve peace and freedom for the people everywhere in the world, our nations as well. As warriors of the Western world, we defend these goals in the context of NATO, EU and UN missions implementing the goals set thereof.”

The Force Protection Unit formed by the National Defence Volunteer Force began the mission in October 2017. The first rotation to serve in protection of the personnel of the German Contingent was provided by the 6th Territorial Unit of the Resurrection Military District as well. Over the six years, the total of more than 500 troops rotated to MINUSMA every six months gaining international experience, training and ensuring real-life force protection functions.

Operation MINUSMA was conducted in Mali since 2013 as an effort to stabilize the country, support the Transitional Action Plan, protect civilians, promote and defend human rights, arrange humanitarian aid supply, protect cultural heritage and justice at national and international levels.

According to the mandate from the Seimas, the Lithuanian Armed Forces still contributes troops from across services to 11 international operations. Such deployments not only train the ability to interact with international partners but also improve the expertise and skills necessary to ensure defence of the Republic of Lithuania.

Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis, Cpl Michail Lysenko