Almost 300 French troops join NATO battalion in Lithuania
Almost 300 French troops have been deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO's multinational battalion.
The first group arrived in Lithuania in late December and the last one came on Wednesday night, Major Mouasso Milla Arnaud of the French contingent told BNS on Thursday.
"All the contingent has already arrived," he said.
The major said that four Leclerc tanks and nine VBCI infantry fighting vehicles, as well as other equipment, had been also deployed to Lithuania.
The French will form one of the maneuvering companies in the NATO battalion stationed in Lithuania last year and will also serve in combat support units and at the headquarters.
Some observers say that the deployment of the French troops to Lithuania shows that the country's policy of active participation in international operations works well.
At France's request, Lithuania last fall sent 34 troops to Mali, where they help protect a camp of the German contingent. Lithuania has also sent instructors to help train local forces in Iraq and considers sending Special Operations Forces to the country.
The arrival of the French contingent bring to over 1,200 the total number of troops in the NATO battalion, which is stationed in Rukla, in the central part of the country.
The battalion is led by Germany and also includes troops from Belgium, Croatia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway.
NATO last year deployed multinational battalions in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine and increased military activity in the Baltic Sea region.