Rukla, Lithuania, 27 March 2017
The German Chief of Defence, General Volker Wieker, travelled to Lithuania on 23 March to gain a first-hand impression of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.

Chief of Defence
(© Bundeswehr/Rabe)

After his arrival at Kaunas Airport, the Chief of Defence is taken directly to Rukla, some 40 kilometres away, where the soldiers of the German-led multinational battlegroup are stationed. Wieker is first given an information briefing to update him on the current developments in the area. After that, he talks to the assembled German soldiers. Praising achievements

In his short speech, the Chief of Defence praises the soldiers’ achievements in Lithuania. Next to building up the infrastructure and a new tent and container village, the German contingent has conducted its first joint exercises with its multinational partners. “The beginning of the eFP operation has been exemplary, and I am convinced that it will be concluded just as successfully,” Wieker says. “I am proud of you, and you can be proud of your achievements too.” He closed with some encouraging words to give the servicemen and -women the confidence and strength needed for the coming weeks. Taking time to chat

In spite of the tight schedule, General Wieker takes the time to talk personally to German and multinational soldiers in Rukla. For the last item on the agenda, the German mechanised infantry and their Lithuanian counterparts give a dynamic presentation of delaying action. Wieker was clearly satisfied when he said goodbye to the battlegroup soldiers. His onward journey then took him to Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius, where he had further talks with political and military leaders.

This is a tranlsation of an article by Elisabeth Rabe published on

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