Around 80 Belgian troops will leave Belgium’s military airport in Melsbroek on Wednesday and to fly to Lithuania, where they will be part of NATO’s enhanced presence along its eastern border.
The Defence Minister of Belgium, Ludovine Dedonder, took it to Twitter to share, “Belgium as reliable partner in NATO has already sent a military detachment to Lithuania. We are participating in the Enhanced Forward Presence mission of NATO to reinforce the Alliance and the eastern flank. Thank you to our soldiers! #WeAreNATO.”
As per reports, the troops are mostly from the army’s Ardennes Chasseurs Battalion as well as the 29th Logistics Battalion and the 4 CIS group, focusing on communications.
In the coming week, a Belgian detachment will start training in the German-led Combat Battalion on August 17. In total, 150 Belgian troops will be deployed for this mission in Lithuania. The move
NATO’s ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’ was launched following a NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016 in order to deploy four multinational combat battalions in Baltics (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) as well as Poland.
Increased presence in the region was intended to empower the eastern flank of NATO after Russian annexed Crimea in 2014.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, NATO planned to add four additional combat battalions to the region. Furthermore, NATO has announced at its Madrid summit in June that it would boost its forces nearly eightfold from 40,000 to 300,000 soldiers.