On January 11 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis met with Peter Hultqvist, Minister of Defence of Sweden on a formal visit in Lithuania. At a bilateral meeting Ministers discussed security situation in the Baltic Sea region, exchanged information on efforts to develop national capabilities, increase resilience of the society to hybrid threats and modernisation of armed forces.
“Aa a NATO partner, Sweden has been Lithuania’s ally in strengthening our security and rendering assistance to us since the restoration of independence, for years. I am happy to state that the partnership in defence area between Sweden and Lithuania is only growing,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said.
Lithuanian and Swedish Defence Ministers also addressed possibilities of further strengthening defence cooperation between the countries in order to ensure timely response and provision of reliable defence in the event of any unrest in the region.
Among the most important points of discussion was multinational military exercises where troops of both, Lithuania and Sweden, train. “Interaction would be of decisive meaning for mutual defence of the region in case of necessity, therefore we have to continue training our soldiers in joint exercise,” P. Hultqvist underscored. R. Karoblis stressed that joint exercises with NATO partners is a significant means of deterrence and sends a clear signal of NATO’s unity and readiness to defence to a potential adversary. Minister R. Karoblis pointed out the importance of Sweden to NATO’s defence planning in the region and invited Sweden to train in military exercises in Lithuania and the Baltic states more actively.
The Ministers gave great focus to the European Union initiatives of strengthening the dimension of defence. Both countries a part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) aimed at strengthening the cooperation among European Union countries in security and defence. Ministers agreed that in the face of intensified Russian propaganda and information attacks it was particularly important to strengthen EU defence cooperation and demonstrate unity.
The meetings are also attended by Vice Ministers of National Defence Vytautas Umbrasas and Edvinas Kerza, Lithuania’s cybersecurity situation and cyber-capability consolidation will be presented.
The Swedish delegation will also pay a visit to the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and meet with members of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Lithuania.
During the visit in Lithuania Swedish Defence Minister P. Hultqvist plans attending the informal Snow Meeting of security policy experts on January 11-12.
Lithuanian-Swedish defence cooperation
The Lithuanian-Swedish defence cooperation has been active since Lithuania’s restoration of independence. Prior to Lithuania’s NATO accession, defence cooperation between Lithuania and Sweden focused on Sweden’s assistance to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Weaponry and equipment was transferred, projects of medical assistance, fitting up sea and coastal surveillance system, air defence battalion, and air base, to name but a few, were completed, and Lithuanian officers studied at Swedish military education institutions.
Lithuania and Sweden cooperate as part of various multinational security and defence formats, such as the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy, Joint Expeditionary Force, Nordic-Baltic 8, etc.
The present-day cooperation between Lithuanian and Swedish militaries is developed at unit level, with the closest cooperation ongoing between air, maritime and military medical services. Sweden’s and Lithuania’s navies train in various international exercises in the Baltic region on a regular basis. Practical cooperation between the two countries is planned to be continued in the future as well.