We value Belgium’s long-term commitment to defence, says Chief of Defence of Lithuania

We value Belgium’s long-term commitment to defence, says Chief of Defence of Lithuania

During the formal visit to Belgium on March 25-26, Chief of Defence General Valdemaras Rupšys discussed current affairs of military cooperation with Chief of Defence of Belgium Admiral Michel Hofman. CHODs exchanged insights and assessments, discussed assistance to Ukraine, briefed each other on national capability development plans. Today General Rupšys met with the Belgian Special Forces Group top command to discuss new prospects for cooperation between Lithuanian and Belgian special forces.   

“This week we are marking the 10th anniversary since becoming a member of NATO.  It was specifically the Belgian Air Force fighter aircraft that landed at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai from the first minutes of Lithuania’s NATO membership to take charge of the Lithuanian airspace as the NATO Air policing Mission in the Baltic states. Today, the Belgian contingent is an integral part of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group, in Lithuania since 2017 without interruptions. Lithuania deeply appreciates your contribution to deterrence against the potential aggressor and to ensuring security of Lithuania and our region,” said General V. Rupšys and thanked the Belgian counterpart for the visible long-term commitment to collective defence, as well as steadfast bilateral friendship.   

Both the Lithuanian Armed Forces and NATO Allies are responsibility building first response readiness for the case of potential aggression and are training together in order to ensure an effective integration of Allies in the region in the most recent NATO defence plans update.  Logistics is named as a particularly promising area for Lithuanian-Belgian military cooperation: an area of critical importance for supplying for military units and operational success in peacetime and on the battlefield. The Belgian Armed Forces have excellent logistics experts who showcase their exceptional professionalism when deploying the first rotations of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence capabilities to Lithuania.   

Chief of Defence of Belgium Admiral M. Hofman underscored at the meeting the strong long-lasting traditions of military cooperation between the two countries and was interested to look for yet new forms for the Belgians to contribute to the security of Lithuania and the region.

Special forces is a promising are for new cooperation opportunities.  The Lithuanian Special Operations have taken the responsibility to lead the developed Baltic Special Operations Component Command (SOCC-B) which will unify NATO Special Operations Forces in the Baltic Sea region under one Command and Control (C2) structure. According to Chief of Defence, deterrence and defence will be enhanced when the Belgian Special Forces Group joins the team.

The meeting focused significantly on assistance to Ukraine. Lithuania, alongside with Iceland, became responsible for the Demining Coalition within the Ramstein format. Its purpose is to help the Ministry of Defence and the armed Forces of Ukraine with humanitarian and military demining by acquiring mine countermeasures equipment and arranging training. The Coalition is planned to have 21 members, including Belgium, who have signed Protocols of Intent.  

Photo credits: Lithuanian Armed Forces