09:54 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Lithuanian soldiers raise the NATO and Lithuanian flags during a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of Lithuania joining the NATO military alliance, in Vilnius on March 29, 2014.

    Some 400 Lithuanian Troops Set to Begin NATO Service in January

    © AFP 2019 / Peter Malukas
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    Some 400 Lithuanian soldiers will begin their service in various NATO forces, including NATO Response Force and NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said Monday in a statement.

    VILNIUS (Sputnik) —According to the ministry, ground forces, special operation forces and military police will join NATO missions.

    "About 400 Lithuanian troops with arms and military equipment will begin their service in NATO Response Force (NRF), NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). Lithuanian troops will also join the newly reorganized UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF)," the statement read.

    The JEF is comprised of seven countries, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom and was created to deal with crises.

    In the end of December 2016, Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said Lithuania was aiming to spend on defense more than the minimum required by NATO, which is 2 percent of the country's GDP, and set 2.2 or 2.4 percent as a goal.

    In 2016, NATO increased military presence on the border with Russia, in Baltic countries, including Lithuania. The Kremlin has repeatedly stressed that Moscow was not a threat, but would have to respond to actions that are potentially dangerous to its security.


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