Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian armies must cooperate - Polish MoD

Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian armies must cooperate - Polish MoD Wojtek Jargiło/PAP

The armed forces of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine must cooperate and, in the face of the Russian invasion of Crimea, they need to draw conclusions and boost their strength, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in Lublin, eastern Poland, on Friday.

Blaszczak and his Lithuanian and Ukrainian counterparts, Raimundas Karoblis and Andriy Taran, came to Lublin to mark the 5th anniversary of the creation of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade LITPOLUKRBRIG. The brigade's headquarters are located in the city.

In his address, Blaszczak recalled Russia's military intervention in Georgia in 2008 and the its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, as well as Moscow's support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"We must draw conclusions from this, we must try to make our countries' armies as strong and skilled as possible and enable their cooperation," Blaszczak said.

Quoting the brigade's motto, 'Three nations, one vision,' the Polish minister said it perfectly reflects the nature of such cooperation, enabling the exchange of experiences and improving skills.

The Ukrainian minister said the brigade should develop and take part in international missions, including a NATO mission in Kosovo. He also said Russia had been waging war against his country for seven years.

The Lithuanian minister said that Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, and more generally the whole region, face a similar threat from Russia. Karoblis expressed hope that the brigade will help Ukraine on its path to NATO membership.

The agreement to create the three-nation brigade was signed in 2014 in Warsaw, and the unit was formed in the autumn of 2015, reaching full operational capability in January 2017. Its command is headquartered in Lublin and its sub-units maintain readiness in their respective countries.