Abiding by the principles of transparency and openness, Lithuania has invited international military observers of Russia, Belarus, Finland and Sweden to visit Exercise Iron Wolf 2021-I. They will stay in Lithuania on May 28–31, and observe Exercise Iron Wolf 2021 I on May 29 at Gaižiūnai Training Area.
The international observers will visit the exercise by Lithuania’s invitation on the basis of provisions of the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures 2011 of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It will be first such visit in Lithuania this year.
As Lithuania is demonstrating openness and seeking to increase transparency in the region, it has been inviting military observers of Russia, Belarus, Finland and Sweden to major exercises on a voluntary basis annually since 2018.
Lithuania has halted arms control (verification) activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic from 13 March 2020. On May 19 this years it was resumed.
The OSCE Vienna Document on Security and Confidence-Building Measures 2011 defines measures for ensuring armed forces control and openness and predictability of military activities.
The OSCE Vienna Document 2011 commits the signatory countries to conduct annual information exchange on their manpower, planned capability development and defence budgets on an annual basis, and to notify other Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) countries in advance of scheduled military activities of significant scope. The states also commit to accept a designated number of inspections and evaluation visits by other member states’ military inspectors in military units in their territories. Countries can also volunteer to invite foreign military observers to exercises that meet the scope requirements defined in the Vienna Document.
On May 19 through 31 annual Exercise Iron Wolf 2021 I is held, this year – to maintain readiness of the Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and subordinate battalions and to certify interoperability of Brigade units with the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group (deployed in Rukla, Jonava region) and the Brigade command, as well as the readiness to complete tasks together. In total, the exercise involves around a thousand pieces of military equipment and over 3 thousand military personnel. It is one of the largest military exercises held in Lithuania this year.
Photo credits: Lithuanian Armed Forces