Lithuania marks centenary of reestablished armed forces with military parade

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-25 00:13:38|Editor: yan
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VILNIUS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania celebrated on Saturday the centenary of its reestablished Armed Forces with a solemn formation and a parade of military equipment here in the central part of its capital in the presence of military leadership and official guests from 27 countries.

"Today's parade is a gift to our people made by Lithuanian soldiers, our allies and friends. It is a centenarian message to the world that Lithuania stands ready to defend its homeland, freedom and shared values no matter what efforts it would take," said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in a speech to the country's troops.

Lithuanian Minister of Defense Raimundas Karoblis underlined that defense is not "only military forces' concern, but also the concern of politicians and all the society."

"It is very welcomed that politicians devote a decent part of their attention to the armed forces," he added.

Taking part in the parade were 1,800 troops and nearly 80 military vehicles from Lithuania and 27 allied and partner countries. It was the largest ever military parade held after Lithuania's re-independence, the country's presidency said in a statement.

Addressing the armed forces, the country's Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Zukas said: "I am sure that you will keep the oath and fulfill your duty whatever matters. It is a great honor for me to serve in your ranks."

In his words, Lithuania must enhance its defense capabilities and accumulate necessary resources as insecure areas continue to expand in the world.

The parade put on public display military vehicles of various purposes including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armoured all-terrain vehicles, quadrupeds, motorcycles and air defence equipment.

Also paraded were a U.S. Patriot long-range air defence system, German Leopard 2 battle tanks, and Polish fighter jets F-16 performing a flypast together with the Royal Belgian Air Force currently on patrol of the Baltic skies.

The governmental order for the Restoration of the Lithuanian Army was signed on Nov. 23, 1918. This date is referred to as the Lithuanian Armed Forces Day.