On 20 January, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas met with Canadian Defence Minister Robert Nicholson at Canada's National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. Both ministers addressed a number of common security and defence issues, including joint efforts to support Ukraine.
Juozas Olekas
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The Canadian defence minister thanked Olekas for the strong stance of Lithuania in support of Ukrainian territorial integrity.

In his turn, the Lithuanian minister invited Canada to support the project of trilateral Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade, LITPOLUKRBRIG, by contributing to the training of the Ukrainian military personnel assigned to LITPOLUKRBRIG.

The joint Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade LTPOLUKRBRIG was officially established in September 2014. The aim of the initiative is to assist Ukraine in adopting NATO experience and standards and to develop an efficient armed force.

Military personnel contributed to the Brigade will train in joint exercises and training events. The Brigade as well as its separate components will be deployable to multinational operations mandated by the UN Security Council.

The Lithuanian and Canadian Defence Ministers also discussed the international Exercise Maple Arch that Canada will organise in Lithuania in November; the exercise will involve LITPOUKBRIG military personnel from Lithuanian, Poland Ukraine as well as the Canadian military.

The Maple Arch series of military exercises were launched in 1999 by Canada’s initiative in support of the projects of the Lithuanian-Polish Battalion (LITPOLBAT) and Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Battalion (LITPOLUKRBAT), as well as for drawing the Lithuanian Armed Forces and later – the Ukrainian military closer to NATO defence standards and increase their interoperability with NATO allies.

In a discussion with Minister R. Nicholson on the implementation on NATO measures for deterring Russia and reassuring the Baltic region, Minister Olekas thanked his Canadian counterpart for the participation of the country’s military personnel in the multinational Exercise Iron Sword 2014 held in Lithuania and reinforcement of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states.

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