As part of the Brigade Training Activity Plan, every year LITPOLUKRBRIG Commander visits the affiliated units, together with representatives of the Brigade three founding states. Originally, the LPU delegation was supposed to visit the 1st battalion of the 80th Airborne Assault Brigade (one of the key combat affiliated units into the LITPOLUKRBRIG structure). Currently, this battalion is deployed to the combat zone in the JFO* in the eastern part of Ukraine. The airborne assault troops were one of the first ready to defend the territorial integrity and independence when the armed conflict in Donbas began in 2014. The Air Assault Brigade Commander introduced the foreign partners to the small arms and light weapons, personal protective equipment and modern means of communication.
During the visit, the LITPOLUKRBRIG officials met the Commander of Operational Tactical Command (OTC) "North” in JFO to familiarize with the fundamental aim, general concept and key tasks of the Joint Forces Operation. He explained the operational situation in the area of responsibility to the delegation, including the peculiarities of combat missions, and also shared combat experience with the Lithuanian and Polish officers during the orientation briefing in the JFO Headquarters.
LITPOLUKRBRIG staff maintains close cooperation with the Ukrainian Airborne Assault Forces and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Ukrainian troops combat experience is extremely important to the foreign partners. This visit provided the LITPOLUKRBRIG with the opportunity to familiarize with real combat duties, command-and-control procedures, the process of the Ukrainian transformation to NATO standards and the understanding how the battalion applies the experience gained from joint multinational exercises and trainings.
“Only after visiting the war zone we can totally understand the value of peace!’’ said one of the LITPOLUKRBRIG staff officers.
*JOINT FORCES OPERATION (JFO). The operation of Joint Forces (from April 30, 2018) differs from the Anti-Terrorist Operation with the initial priority to stabilize the situation in Donbas thereby reviving its social sector. The launch of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) was intended to replace the four-year Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO*) and to mark Ukraine’s decisive move towards enhanced active defense. Moreover, it strongly emphasizes the solid statement that "Donbas is Ukraine" and the Government is dead-serious about fighting it back. The JFO was established by a law that redefines Ukraine’s national security policy toward the Donbas by renaming the conflict in the east “Russian armed aggression” and the uncontrolled territories as “temporarily occupied.” Furthermore, it recognizes that Ukraine is fighting Russian regular troops and Kremlin-backed mercenaries, not local separatists.
** Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) began in April 2014 and is defined as the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian military against the pro-Russian forces in the eastern part of Ukraine.