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Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas inaugurated as the new Chief of Defence in the Cathedral Square in Vilnius


Photo gallery (Alfredas Pliadis)


Video report (Lukas Kalvaitis)


On July 24 a formal change of command ceremony of the Chiefs of Defence of Lithuania was held at the Cathedral Square of Vilnius. The outgoing Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius who led the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 2009-2014 was formally replaced by Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas.


Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of the Republic of Lithuania and the Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, underlined at the ceremony that there were fundamental works awaiting the new Chief of Defence, namely, enhancement of national and collective defence capabilities, protection of airspace, manning of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, reserve training, and strengthening of volunteer forces.


According to the President, Lithuania had been a full-fledged member of NATO for 10 years already and that membership was a key support for the defence of our country. For that reason continuing pursuing the noble mission of a soldier and defending the country and the security of its people successfully was one of the most important tasks for the Lithuanian Armed Forces. According to the head of state, the recently adopted decision to increase defence spending would enable our troops pursuing those tasks to an even greater success.


"The responsibility for leading the Lithuanian Armed Forces has fallen on the new Chief of Defence in a period of unrest when the readiness of our armed forces to face new threats is vital. I trust that together with the new Chief of Defence we will make the state and the armed forces stronger," said Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas.


According to the Statute of Parading and Military Ceremonies the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Dalia Grybauskaitė has administered the oath of allegiance to MG J. V. Žukas and passed on the regalia of the Chief of Defence - a Badge of the Chief of Defence, the sceptre and the colours of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Platoons representing all services and units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces were parading with their guidons at the Cathedral Square to pay honour to the incoming Chief of Defence MG J. V. Žukas.


The ceremony was conducted in the presence of representatives of the Parliament and the Government, Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, leadership of the Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces, foreign diplomatic, state institutions' and public organisations' representatives, and other guests.


The Chief of Defence of Lithuania is commissioned for five-year tenure by the President with approval of the Seimas from the nominees tabled by the Minister of National Defence


Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis.

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