The Polish Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak, and his Lithuanian counterpart, Raimundas Karoblis, decided to strengthen bi-national cooperation in the field of defense and security, as both countries face the same threat posed by Russia. In result of discussions held in Vilnius, both partners decided to assign a land forces brigade, the Polish 15th Mechanized and Lithuanian Iron Wolf, to the NATO's Multinational Division North East headquartered in Elblag.
‘We are entering a new stage of cooperation with our strategic ally in defense, Poland. We have held for the first time a bilateral Defense Ministers Council, this format will enable us to cooperate in defence area even more systemically and closer. The Council will meet on a regular basis in the future’, said minister Karoblis after the first Polish-Lithuanian Defense Council in Vilnius with minister Błaszczak.
Minister Karoblis stressed the importance of the bilateral Defense Ministers Council and pointed out that such a cooperation sent a clear signal of our unity and preparedness to defend ourselves together if necessary to potential aggressors. ‘We will be able to ensure the security of our countries and the entire region only if we are sure how we would defend ourselves, in all – national, bilateral, regional, and NATO formats – while it’s still peacetime. Both, Poland and Lithuania share the view on the major current threats in the region and name them clearly’, he said.
The Lithuanian MoD underlined the fact that ‘the bilateral Defense Council will address concrete practical issues, such as, regional air defence or military mobility, deployment of allied reinforcement via the Suwalki Gap’.
The Lithuanian-Polish Council is arranged in order to put into practice the Joint Declaration of the President of Lithuania and the President of Poland concerning partnership in the security area endorsed on 21 February 2019. The Presidents agreed in the declaration to combine efforts to achieve cornerstone objectives for regional security both, bilaterally and in NATO and EU formats.
At the meeting Chiefs of Defense of Lithuania and Poland also signed an act of affiliation of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and the 15th Mechanized Brigade of the Polish Armed Forces to the Multinational Division North-East HQ, that way embedding the objective of both countries to train and act together in order to protect the Suwalki Gap. The affiliation will also facilitate a concrete and force-based NATO planning for our region at military and political levels.
This document identifies several areas of affiliating the Lithuanian and the Polish brigades to the NATO Multinational Division North-East HQ and coordination of activity. These areas are training and exercises, strategic communication, and situational awareness. Both, the Iron Wolf Brigade and the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade remain in national subordination and no organic changes will take place. This document brings to us additional commitments to develop cooperation and share experience. It will allow us to improve both countries’ armed forces and contribute to strengthening NATO’, Chief of Defense of Lithuania, Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys, said.
Based on Lithuanian MoD's press release