Homecoming ceremony of the 20th rotation of Lithuanian platoon KFOR-20 will be held in Panevėžys on July 8. The coming back troops will be welcomed by the Minister of National Defence Rasa Juknevičienė, acting Chief of Defence of Lithuania Adm. (R) Kęstutis Macijauskas, Commander of the National Defence Volunteer Force Col. Antanas Plieskis, and other representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Armed Forces; they will be awarded with medals for participation in international operations and other signs of distinction.
A 30-member KFOR-20 was the last platoon Lithuania had deployed to Kosovo under the NATO Kosovo Force operation in composition of the joint Polish-Ukrainian Battalion POLUKRBAT. KFOR-20 conducted duty for a shorter period than preceding platoons - its rotation period lasted for about three months.
Since the beginning of participation in the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 1999 Lithuania has deployed around 900 soldiers (600 of them were attached to POLUKRBAT) to the operation. Lithuania's decision to cut down on participation in Kosovo is motivated by the set priority to complete commitments in Afghanistan with regard to diminished defence budget. The decision to decrease Lithuania's military input in Kosovo was made in relation to security situation in the region after consultations with Polish and Ukrainian partners.
Even after withdrawal of the unit Lithuania will continue participation in the NATO Training Team-Kosovo Programme aiming at training of new Kosovo's security forces. Presently there is one training team of five military instructors deployed to Kosovo.
For the media: Homecoming ceremony of KFOR-20 will take place on July 8, 11.00 hrs, in a ground near „Garsas" Culture House.
Point of contact: NDVF 5th Territorial Unit, PR Officer Capt. Virginijus Rudokas, cell phone. 8 687 501 51.