From Ministry of Defense of Lithuania:  Sweden has sent a formal invitation for Lithuania to join the Sweden-led EU Nordic Battlegroup in the first half of 2015. Ambassador of Sweden in Lithuania HE Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin has delivered the invitation on August 24 to Vice Minister of National Defence Vytautas Umbrasas presented in the letter by Defence Minister of Sweden Karin Enström to Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Rasa Juknevičienė.

This project is of utmost importance to the Lithuanian Armed Forces, it will allow Lithuania to contribute to one of the framework EU operational capabilities,” Vice Minister of National Defence said.

According to Vice Minister, Lithuania’s contribution to the EU Nordic Battlegroup will not only strengthen the response capabilities of the European Union but will also boost regional Nordic-Baltic defence cooperation.

Lithuania announced its intent to join the Nordic Battlegroup several years ago.

Apart from Lithuania and Sweden the Nordic Battlegroup will be manned by Norway, Finland, Ireland, and Estonia.

The Nordic Battlegroup is planned to perform standby in the first half of 2015. Nordic EU Battlegroups already conducted the service in the first half of 2008 and 2011. It is estimated to be one of the best-manned EU Battlegroups.

Following a similar model to the NATO Response Force the European Union Battlegroups include military units delegated to conduct a six-month standby by member states. Such unit includes up to 2 thousand troops.

In the first half of 2010 Lithuania participated in a joint EU Battlegroup of Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania and Latvia. Water Purification Unit of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytenis General Support Logistics Battalion was assigned to the Dutch-German-Finnish-Austrian-Lithuanian EU Battlegroup in the first half of 2011. In the second half of 2013 Lithuania will join the UK-led Battlegroup together with Sweden and Latvia. According to the plans Lithuania will contribute and infantry company to the United Kingdom-led Battlegroup.  (photo: Ministry of Defense of Sweden)