“First of all, Lithuania will have to defend itself from various new threats, especially non-conventional threats. Therefore, we must have a rapidly-responding army capable of deployment in the necessary location in 2-24 hours depending on the situation,” the president said during her visit to the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion in Alytus, southern Lithuania.
Under the plan, the new rapid response forces will consist of two battalion combat teams, and elements of air force, special forces and logistic support.
According to Grybauskaitė, Lithuania is the first country among NATO members to have taken actions following the recent NATO summit during which leaders of NATO countries decided to create rapid response forces in response to Russia‘s actions in Ukraine.
From November when the rapid response forces will start functioning, over 2,500 well-trained and supplied troops will be on immediate standby in Lithuania.
Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas said on Monday the rapid response forces would be ready to respond to hybrid warfare threats, including the instigation of ethnic minorities, provocations, attacks by non-state armed groups and organizations, illegal border-crossing, violations of military transit procedures, unrest in neighbouring countries.