NATO troops drilled their skills of crossing a water obstacle, bringing their military equipment across the River Neris on a pontoon bridge in the Stasenai village in the Jonava district, central Lithuania, on Tuesday.
© Viršilos G.Maurico nuotr.

The operation is part of the international military exercise Iron Wolf involving over 5,300 troops from 10 NATO member-states.

"All types of the army were involved: on land, air and river, if I can say so. All regions of Lithuania were included, it is indeed a very broad-scale exercise Lithuania has not hosted before. The results are good," Lithuania's Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Zukas told journalists at the exercise.

The training was also observed by the visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite.

Stoltenberg also received a gift from Grybauskaite – an orange-colored scooter made by Lithuanian manufacturers. The president's press service said the vehicle was to help the NATO secretary general get around "the very big new NATO building in Brussels."

The exercise is held in multiple locations in Lithuania. In the central Jonava district, the troops are stationed Stasenu village next to a few farmsteads, with local residents on Tuesday appearing used to the new routine and doing their daily work in their yards, as troops walked by and heavy machinery was moving next to their houses.

Iron Wolf 2017 is part of the Saber Strike 2017 training held in the Baltic states and Poland. The main focus of this year's exercise is on training of NATO's international battalions.

Zukas said the battalion stationed in Lithuania had demonstrated during the exercise the achievements of the past year since the decision to station the units in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.

"This was a demonstration of the full operational capacities achieved: this has not yet occurred in Latvia or Estonia," said the Lithuanian chief of defense.

Every international NATO battalion includes about 1,000 troops. Additional 4,000 soldiers from the United States were also deployed in Poland earlier this year.

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