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Frequently Asked Questions about the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the context of COVID19

Frequently Asked Questions about the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the context of COVID19

Constantly updated, last updated on 1 June 2020, 0900hrs. In total, up to 40 soldiers are currently completing domestic support tasks at one time. 

 

 

1. In what circumstances and for which functions can the Lithuanian Armed Forces can be used to assist civilian institutions when a peacetime emergency situation is declared?

 

The Lithuanian Armed Forces protects the sovereignty of the state and prepares for defence, arranges search and rescue operations, and responds to pollution incidents at sea. The Lithuanian Armed Forces also can be called to assist public safety system entities - Firefighting and Rescue Department, police, State Border Guard Service, medical institutions, State Food and Veterinary Service, emergency services, economy entities, trained volunteers (not the National Defence Volunteer Force) and associations - in completing rescue and urgent work during an emergency situation.

 

The Lithuanian Armed Forces can be used only for completing tasks of rescue and urgent operations conducted by capabilities of the public safety system entities in the emergency situation hotspot. For example, the Lithuanian Armed Forces can be called to help install a check post, control entry of people into certain areas, evacuate the injured, carry out armed escort, protect from industrial hazardous materials, or reinforce object guard. Military personnel can also be used for other activities that do not require them to have authority over persons not subordinate to them and do not concern proactive use of military force against fellow citizens.

 

Forces of the public safety system are in charge and control of operations conducted in an emergency situation, that does not pass over to the Lithuanian Armed Forces which does not have the mandate and the right to give out mandatory orders. Military personnel is not authorised to carry out the function of the police, public safety, and other officers, they are only allowed to assist in a way that does not require authority over fellow citizens.

 

The Lithuanian Armed Forces is activated to assist public safety system forces on the basis of a request document from the Chairman of the State Emergency Situation Commission to the Minister of National Defence to assist public safety system forces in conducting rescue or other urgent activities.

 

2. Present or completed contribution of the Lithuanian Armed Forces to COVID19 situation management:

 

June 1 update

 

  • Domestic support tasks are cancelled on the internal European Union border with Latvia as of June 1.

 

May 11 update

 

  • Military Police assistance to the Lithuanian Police Department and Logistic Support Command assistance (tent with administrative equipment) to Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos suspended as of May 11.

 

April 16 update

 

  • The Lithuanian Armed Forces Military Police assigned three vehicles and crews to assist the Lithuanian Police Department in enforcing public order and quarantine in Nemenčinė.

 

April 10 through 14

 

  • The Police Department is strengthened with 32 mounted Military Police crews during the light part of the day  (in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, Utena, Tauragė, Marijampolė, Telšiai, Alytus, and Ignalina), and up to 8 mounted crews during the dark part of the day (in Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys) during the Easter weekend.

 

April 7 update

 

  • The Lithuanian Armed Forces Military Police assigned crews and vehicles to enforce public order in Alytus, Tauragė, Marijampolė and Utena one per each in order to support the Lithuanian Police Department;    

 

April 3 update

 

  • Military Police of the Lithuanian Armed Forces started patrols in the biggest cities;
      

April 1 update

 

  •  Lithuanian military personnel started guarding the State Reserve Medical Supplies warehouse of the Ministry of Health;

 

 

March 28 update

 

  • A Military Police crew started guarding the Lithuanian Post terminal on March 28 and stopped on April 3;

 

March 27 update

 

  • The Lithuanian Armed Forces started providing assistance to the National Public Health Centre in 10 border crossing checkpoints.

 

March 23 update

 

  • Military and civilian personnel of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Strategic Communication Department were assigned to the Public Information Group by request of the Ministry of Health;

 

  • Two Logistics Officers, one Medical Officer, and one Operational Planning Officer were appointed for liaison with the State Emergency Operations Centre to plan and coordinate management of the emergency and possible assistance from the Lithuanian Armed Forces;
  • Additional function of patrolling with the State Border Guard Service was introduced;


March 22 update

 


• 10 tents with administrative equipment were committed to Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos;

 

  • The Spartan transport aircraft of the Lithuanian Air Force was used to bring reagent material for COVID-19 testing to Lithuania;

 

March 19 update

 

  • Military Police and Military Medical Service personnel started monitoring compliance with the quarantine requirements;

 

March 16 update

 

  • The Lithuanian Armed Forces set up and assisted with 4 military tents at Vilnius and Kaunas airports for passenger registration and examination procedures from March 16 through April 2;

 

  • soldiers of the National Defence Volunteer Force started assisting State Border Guard Service colleagues at border crossing checkpoints in providing information to, controlling the flow of and registering people entering the territory of Lithuania;

 

  • 26 students of the Paramedic Course at the Military Medical Training Centre of the Lithuanian Armed Forces MD Jonas Basanavičius Military Medical Service on a job placement in 29 National Healthcare System institutions across Lithuania joined the efforts of personnel of the First Medical Aid and emergency rooms to continue rendering the necessary aid to patients in these trying conditions when the quarantine was introduced.

 

 

March 10 update


  • The Strategic Communication Department of the Lithuanian Armed Forces started conducting analysis of informational space concerning information attacks related to COVID-19.

 

March 3 update

 

  • soldiers of the National Defence Volunteer Force started managing the passenger flow, registering  (the activity has been suspended as of June 1) travelers returning  to Lithuania and providing them information at Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports and Klaipėda Seaport side by side with colleagues from the National Public Health Centre (the activity was stopped at Kaunas and Palanga airports because of flight cancellation). 

 

 

3. Changes in Lithuanian Armed Forces activities made because of COVID19.

 

The Lithuanian Armed Forces introduced the following COVID19 spread mitigation measures as part of the quarantine:

 

  • Military personnel completing domestic support tasks are using airway protective equipment, protective suits, protective eye gear, hand disinfection means, disposable gloves;

 

  • Movement of military personnel and vehicles between units has been limited except for essential communication;

 

  • Access to military units has been restricted, entrance control (declaration, body temperature test requirements);

 

  • Weekend leave for conscripts of the Continuous Mandatory Initial Military Service (CMIMS) has been temporarily suspended. The preventive measure has been applied in order to ensure health protection of the conscripts and their family members they would visit while ensuring the opportunities to stay in touch via technology;

 

  • A part of the career soldiers will undergo health assessment and have to stay with the conscripts, will carry out service on barracks regimen and will not be allowed to visit home. The measure has been applied to minimise outside contacts;

 

  • Additional combat training exercises combined with rest time have been planned for soldiers during the weekends;

 

  • Dining and healthcare services are provided in a manner that prevents gathering and queuing;

 

  • Medical support elements are in operation across all divisions, military medics are ready to provide vaccination,first medical aid to professional military service soldiers, primary outpatient healthcare services to CMIMS conscripts;

 

  • Medical personnel and commanders have issued instructions in all units concerning additional counter-COVID19 hygiene: quarters are aired and cleaned more frequently, soldiers are washing their hands more often, hand sanitiser is available across quarters;

 

  • Limitations have been put on military training activities and exercises. International exercises and exercises scheduled to be located in non-military areas have been cancelled. Military personnel are allowed to train at platoon level, platoon strength up to 30 persons, and have to respect social distancing recommendations. Exercises are only allowed to take place in military-use areas in open air;

 

  • All career soldiers are obliged to self-isolate, not to report to their units physically for two weeks after returning from service trips abroad;

 

  • Further military service trips abroad have been cancelled and are not scheduled;

 

 

  • Personal protective equipment and disinfectant acquisitions are carried out.

 

Important note: the quarantine does not alter the main mission of the Armed Forces - preparedness for armed state defence, therefore with additional safety measures in place, the Armed Forces has to remain ready to ensure that military personnel will fulfil their duty in national defence and in assisting other authorities fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

 

4. CMIMS conscripts are temporarily not granted weekend leaves because:

 

a. It is a preventive measure to minimize the risk for conscripts and their family members to become infected with the coronavirus. Equivalent measures were applied in the past to address the seasonal flu epidemic announced by municipalities in their areas of responsibility.

 

b. An emergency, or a quarantine, does not nullify tasks of the Armed Forces - military personnel continues the service the same way public order officers or firefighters do. Military training must continue not only to ensure implementation of the main task of the Armed Forces, armed state defence, but also for the Armed Forces to remain able to assist other state authorities fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

 

c. Barracks regimen for conscripts is a common practice during a quarantine period. It is imposed to protect conscripts' health. Medical support elements are in operation across all divisions and military medics are ready to provide health services. CMIMS conscripts receive primary outpatient healthcare services, first medical aid, etc. Conscripts are training in routine military training exercises, attend civil education, leisure, sports, and other activities in unit territories during the weekends. It is a common practice in other NATO militaries as well.

 

5. Will the CMIMS conscription and transportation to units be halted.

 

a. Health check-ups conducted before joining the professional military service or CMIMS are halted from March 17 until the end of the quarantine.  The medical personnel has been reassigned to conduct other tasks.

 

b. Health examination notices issues for CMIMC conscripts will be postponed until later date or cancelled. Each conscript will be contacted individually to agree a new check-up date.

 

c. CMIMS conscripts who have already received instruction to provide their documents or contact have to contact via telephone or e-mail and to send their documents (e.g., education certificates or requests to postpone CMIMC) by remote means (registered mail or e-mail). All necessary information will be given via e-mail or by phone by regional divisions of the Military Conscription and Recruitment Service.

 

d. Directions for conscripts and information concerning fulfilment of their draft procedures is announced and updated on the sauktiniai.karys.lt. website.

 

e. Conscripts on the calendar year roll are obliged to closely follow updates of information concerning conscription and directions published online, and to follow the directions concerning conscription.

 

6. What should the young people living abroad do if they are on the 2020 conscription roll?

 

Conscripts who reside abroad and receive directions to present themselves to regional divisions of the Military Conscription and Recruitment Service in the nearest while have to first contact a regional division of the Military Conscription and Recruitment Service and provide information about their location and circumstances that impede their fulfilment of conscription duty. Conscription procedures for such conscripts will be paused and another date for arriving will be set.

 

7. Where are soldiers who have fever kept in military units?

 

Separated and isolated room is made available in every unit to be occupied by a soldier or a civilian employee in case COVID19 infection is suspected, according to the guidance for prevention of COVID19 spread in Lithuania approved by the Chief of Defence.

 

According to their condition (i.e., those who have fever because of other reasons) CMIMS conscripts are treated in separated premises or are referred to civilian healthcare institutions.

 

8. What is the procedure in case a soldier is diagnosed with COVID?

 

a. The soldier would be isolated and ambulance would be called. The premises where the soldier had been would be disinfected and those who had come into contact with him would be isolated and observed for 14 days. Catering for such soldiers would be arranged separately from the rest.

 

b. in case the symptoms are the sever, the ill soldier would be handed over for further care to civilian healthcare institutions.

 

8. Can family members visit conscripts in their units.

 

a. Family members are not allowed to visit soldiers at military units during quarantine on the basis of the Chief of Defence's action plan restricting access by unauthorised persons to military units.

 

9. Is delivery of parcels to conscripts allowed.

 

a. Yes, it is allowed. However, keeping food in the barracks is prohibited.

 

11. What are the preventive measures applied to stop importation of the coronavirus into military units by career soldiers?

 

a. Soldiers and institutional representatives on duty at unit check-posts are wearing personal protective equipment (as of a separate direction, once community spread of the coronavirus has been identified) and conducting body temperature check-ups of every person entering the unit.

 

b. Movement of military personnel and vehicles between units has been restricted to essential only for the quarantine period.

 

c. Soldiers who have returned from abroad have to stay self-isolated for 14 days and not report to their units. They also have to up their hygiene efforts.

 

12. Is it true that NATO exercises scheduled for early April have not been cancelled?

 

a. All national and international exercises have been cancelled for the quarantine period. The United States-led Exercise Defender Europe 2020has been modified in scope and size. It is a rational and temporary solution applied with regard to the spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

13. What are the military personnel doing at their units at this time?

 

a. Soldiers are completing essential tasks and continuing military which is also essential for maintaining preparedness of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

 

b. Soldiers are following the recommendations for preventing the infection, however, please note, that the quarantine does not alter the key mission of the Lithuanian Armed Forces - to be ready for armed state defence, therefore with additional safety measures in place, the Armed Forces has to remain ready to ensure that military personnel will fulfil their duty in national defence and in assisting other authorities fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

 

14. Is there a medical facility in military territories?

 

a. There are medical support units and military medics are ready to provide health services in every division of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. CMIMS conscripts receive primary outpatient healthcare services, first medical aid, etc.

 

15. Are there COVID-19 positive soldiers in the Lithuanian Armed Forces?

 

 

Yes,  first cases were diagnosed on March 21 in Rukla to one civilian employee and one soldiers from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

 

The first case among Lithuanian soldiers was confirmed on April 2 to a career servicemember of Rukla Garrison. In all cases of confirmed COID-19 set measures of isolation, disinfection, etc., are applied.  

 

On March 29 nine military medics with additional medical equipment arrived at the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group to help ensure healthcare provided to the NATO eFP military personnel.

 

The Lithuanian Armed Forces and allied forces in Lithuania continue to observe and practise all safety and preventive measures to protect the health of military personnel in the best way possible while continuing to ensure completion of national defence tasks.

16. Have the education activities been suspended at the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania (MAL) for the lockdown period?

• The Academy is a military university, hence service and other activities there have not been withheld. However, distance learning and task completion is practised.

 

• The terms for military and civilian personnel access to the territory have been severely tightened.

 

• Hand sanitisers have been made available at different and numerous locations throughout the MAL compound, everyone is invited to follow Ministry of Health recommendations and norms of personnel hygiene.

 

• Cadets are granted weekend leaves to outside of the Academy compound once in two weeks at the most frequent  during the lockdown in the territory of Lithuania.

 

• The Military Academy of Lithuania is following the situation in the country and the world and takes additional preventive measures against infection in order to ensure uninterrupted functioning of the military institution.

 

 17. How is the studying process organised at the MAL? 

• University studies for MAL cadets and part-time students, as well as preparation for school graduation exams for CMIMCS conscripts are organised in accordance with a separate order on distance learning of the MAL Commandant.   Distance learning is arranged through Moodle, if a teacher requests, learning can also delivered in classrooms in accordance with COVID-19 precautions.  

• During cadet exam sessions teachers can choose to organise exams in MAL rooms in accordance with the COVID-19 prevention measures approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

• Enrolment interviews with MAL entrants to assess their determination to be cadets and officers are carried out remotely.

 

• Military Science and Technology Library services are only available to cadets and the CMIMS training  platoon.

 

 

 18. How is military training conducted at the MAL?  

• Military training is conducted outside of the MAL territory (in Lithuanian Armed Forces units).

 

• Platoon Commander Course (PCC) is continued with COVID-19 preventive precautions applied.  

• The Physical Training Centre and the shooting range are open  only for individual skills training of cadets and the CMIMS training  platoon.

 

 The Junior Officer Command Training has been halted.   

 

 19. Are there additional safety measures for those entering the MAL territory.

• All movement of persons in and into the area has been minimised.

 

• Activities of National Defence System units in the territory have been prohibited.

 

20. What is the reaction of allied troops to the coronavirus, does it affect their mission, do they have  contact with CMIMS conscripts?

 

Both, Lithuanian an allied forces are continuing implementing their mission while applying certain distancing precautions. That does not impede combat readiness and task implementation. Foreign soldiers are separated from CMIMS conscripts and even dine separately, especially at present, when force stream management and hygiene requirements have been tightened.   

 

 

 

*Updated on June 1, 0900hrs