Žukas received the highest military rank for his immaculate service and merits in strengthening the Armed Forces and Lithuania.
“In the hands of the Armed Forces lies the vital task of the state – the safety of Lithuania and its people. The rank is a sign of appreciation and confidence, also a higher degree of responsibility and a duty to be an example to all people of Lithuania,” Grybauskaitė said at the ceremony.
Up until now, the ranks of lieutenant general were conferred upon two Lithuanian chiefs of defence, namely, Valdas Tutkus and Arvydas Pocius.
In 1991, Žukas graduated from the History Faculty of Vilnius University and joined the Lithuanian defence system in 1990 as Inspector of Section II of the National Defence Department. He later headed the Kaunas Motorborne Battalion of the Field Army Brigade and the Motorized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, serving as defence attaché to Germany and serving as commander of the Training and Doctrine Command of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
In 2007-2012, Žukas was the commander of the Lithuanian Land Force. He has studied at the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College and NATO Defence College in Rome.
Until 2014, he served as the military representative at Lithuania’s Permanent Mission at NATO and the European Union before being appointed as chief of defence last year.