Lithuanian troops left for Ukraine on Tuesday to train local forces in the use of US-made anti-aircraft missile systems, which the Baltic state provided amid fears of a Russian invasion.
“We have fully supported, are supporting and will continue to support Ukraine,” Lithuania’s Chief of Defense Valdemaras Rupsys said in a statement.
“Weapons and technology are nothing without the knowledge and ability to use them, so… we will share our knowledge and experience.”
Vilnius delivered the short-range Stinger missile systems to Ukraine on Sunday after Washington approved the transfer of American weapons to Kyiv amid mounting tensions.
Stingers ✅ Thanks to the @LithuanianGovt, Lithuanian people&personally to great friend of 🇺🇦 @a_anusauskas for the aid! Ukrainian & Lithuanian relations are very close&have lasted for many centuries. I appreciate our centuries-old friendship&strength support of each other!🇺🇦🤝🇱🇹 pic.twitter.com/zf8sNj9Oe7
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) February 13, 2022
The troops will train their Ukrainian counterparts “for the next few weeks,” according to Lithuania’s armed forces.
The Baltic NATO member’s troops are also taking part in a training mission in western Ukraine.
With more than 100,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, there is concern that a major conflict could break out in Europe.
But Russia said Tuesday it was pulling back some of those forces to their bases, prompting cautious optimism in the West of a possible first major step towards de-escalation.