2,500 troops from 8 countries coming to Lithuania for biggest NATO exercise this year

Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas told journalists it would be the largest training event in Lithuania this year after NATO made the decision to expand it in response to the ongoing events in Ukraine.

The Iron Sword 2014 will take place on 2-14 November and will involve troops from the Czech Republic, Estonia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary and Germany. The majority – 1,900 – will be Lithuanian troops.

“It shows that NATO countries are better aware of changes in the geopolitical situation and our expressed concern over security in the region and are more united,” the chief of defence told the press conference.

According to the major general, the Iron Sword used to be a national exercise but “after the events started in Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Poland turned to NATO to make certain national exercises into NATO exercises”. The Alliance command identified it as a NATO training event and allies decided to send their troops.

Luxembourgian troops chose Lithuania as the locations of their first foreign training, Žukas noted.

The Iron Sword 2014 will take place at the Gaižiūnų and the General Silvestras Žukauskas (Pabradė) Training Areas.

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