(VILNIUS) – Belgian King Philippe paid a visit to Lithuania on Thursday to meet Belgium’s troops deployed in the Baltic state and discuss cooperation with Lithuania.
The main purpose of the King’s visit was to meet Belgian soldiers deployed in Lithuania as part of NATO enhanced forward presence battalion. Around 100 Belgian troops with military hardware have been deployed to conduct joint military training and defend the Baltic state in the case of military conflict.
Before visiting the soldiers, King Philippe met with Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite. According to the President’s Office, the King and the President discussed security cooperation and situation in the region.
The Lithuanian president highlighted the contribution made by Belgium to ensure Lithuania’s security. Belgian logistic personnel were the first to arrive to Lithuania to start deployment of NATO multinational battalion of around 1,200 troops, the country was also the first to start air policing mission in the Baltic Skies following Lithuania’s admission to NATO in 2004.
King Philippe later visited his troops deployed in Rukla, Central Lithuania. Accompanied by President Grybauskaite, King Philippe chatted with the Belgian troops and visited their facilities at the site of deployment, according to Lithuanian defense ministry.
“Meet & greet with the Belgian military in Rukla,” the King later posted in Royal Palace’s Twitter account with pictures illustrating the King’s conversations with the Belgian troops.
Belgian forces have been deployed in Lithuania with German-lend NATO multinational battalion following last year’s NATO allies’ decision to strengthen presence in the Baltic countries and Poland.