U.S., Lithuania hold joint training exercise

The U.S. and Lithuania participated in a joint CBRN training event last week in Rukla, Lithuania.

The event, held at the Gaižiūnų Training Area, was part of Exercise Black Arrow, the largest tactical field event held by the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army in Europe trained alongside approximately 1,500 of their Lithuanian counterparts, Global Biodefense reports.

The culmination of Exercise Black Arrow featured live parachute jumps and a simulated assault on enemy positions. The operation was observed by Lithuanian military leadership and representatives from the U.S. embassy in Lithuania.

The U.S. has similar training events planned for other NATO allies in the region including Poland, Estonia and Latvia. The recently-announced exercises are part of a U.S. effort to reaffirm its commitment to NATO allies in Eastern Europe amid ongoing political instability in Ukraine, according to Global Biodefense.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that NATO has no plans to put nuclear weapons or large numbers of new troops in Eastern Europe, despite heightened tensions with Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Ukraine is set to hold presidential elections on May 25.