International operation status proposed for Lithuanian military instructor mission in Ukraine

Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis on Tuesday submitted a proposal to the parliament, suggesting that the resolution on participation of military units in international operations is supplemented with the dispatch of military instructors to Ukraine.

It would allow sending up to 60 troops and civilian members of the defense system to train Ukraine’s Armed Forces. After the bill was unanimously approved for discussion by 97 votes, it will proceed to committees and be submitted before plenary.

The defense minister noted that Lithuania currently had over 30 military instructors to Ukraine, adding that the parliament’s decision would revise the status into international operation and improve the conditions for the troops.

“Up until now, when we didn’t have the status, we are providing training assistance to Ukraine, i.e., 34-38 persons involved in the training of instructors for Ukrainian battalions together with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Poland. This would grant a status to improve the safety and other conditions, unify conditions of payment, as compared with other international operations,” said the minister.

Karoblis noted that “the draft resolution does not facilitate direct participation of Lithuanian troops in combat operations in zones of Ukraine’s counter-terrorism operation,” and the assistance of Lithuanian military instructors will contribute to consolidation of the Ukrainian army’s defense capacities and bring them closer to NATO standards.

Participation of Lithuanian troops in international operations for two years is sanctioned by the country’s parliament.

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