"It is the third time that Portuguese troops have been deployed to Lithuania for a period of training and Portugal's contribution to other NATO initiatives only shows that our allies have a common understanding of the threats and commitment to collective defense," Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said in a press release.
Some 100 Portuguese rotational troops with military equipment have been deployed to Lithuania for a four-month period of joint training and exercises with Lithuanian troops. The Portuguese contingent is stationed in the Grand Duke Kestutis Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Taurage and participates in national and international drills in Lithuania jointly with the battalion.
Also, Portugal has thrice led the Alliance's Baltic air-policing mission and two Portuguese servicemen are helping NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius to carry out its tasks.
Before his visit to Taurage, Rebelo de Sousa met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė in Kaunas. The participants of the meeting underlined Portugal's attention to the Baltic countries and discussed common security challenges faced by both NATO countries, as well as energy security issues.
As part of NATO's assurance measures in the Baltic region, a US land force company has been deployed to Lithuania on a rotational basis since the spring of 2014. Also, companies of troops from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal have trained in Lithuania for several months.