The Lithuanian Government has announced plans to increase its support to the Ukrainian military, which is currently fighting pro-Russian rebels in eastern parts of the country.
Starting next year, Lithuania will focus on the implementation of the joint Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade project.
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence will arrange training for specialists from the Ukrainian Army and also exchange ideas and experience on the development of post-mission rehabilitation systems.
Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said: "A joint brigade formed by Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland will provide an opportunity for Ukraine to learn from Lithuania’s and Poland’s experience of NATO integration and to develop efficient armed forces.
"We are inviting Ukraine’s military to take part in military exercises held in Lithuania and we are ready to attend such events in Ukraine in our turn."
Lithuania will provide treatment for Ukrainian military personnel with light injuries at the Military Rehabilitation Centre of The Lithuanian Armed Forces in Druskininkai, and share its experience in countering cyber threats and developing a national system of cyber defence.
In addition, the country has agreed to support Ukraine’s defence system reforms.
Lithuania has already deployed its military aircraft to transport injured soldiers to Lithuania’s civilian medical institutions and the military healthcare centre in Druskininkai.
The country also funds the studies of Ukrainian soldiers in Lithuanian military education institutions and at the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia.
To date, more than 30 Ukrainian personnel have graduated from a NCO training course at the Lithuanian Armed Forces School.
Since 2000, Lithuania and Ukraine have been developing defence cooperation, with the latter contributing soldiers to the Lithuania-led provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Ghor, Afghanistan.
Ukrainian soldiers also served in the Lithuania-led air mentoring team in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Image: Ukrainian Defence Minister colonel general Stepan Poltorak with his Lithuanian counterpart Juozas Olekas. Photo: courtesy of R. Dackus and the Lithuanian MoD.