16 February marks the Lithuanian State Restoration Day. On this occasion, Lithuania’s Ministry of Interior honored four staff members of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) with the Medal for Impeccable Service.
During an official ceremony held at the EULEX Executive Police Compound in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje, EULEX’s Head of Mission, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, EULEX’s Deputy Head of Mission, Cezary Luba, the Commander of EULEX’s Reserve Formed Police Unit (RFPU) from Italian Carabinieri, and an EULEX RFPU Lithuanian gendarme from Lithuania’s Special Operation Team, received first-degree, second-degree and third-degree medals respectively for their impeccable service, in the presence of the Acting Commander of the Lithuanian Public Security Service, Colonel Arūnas Paulauskas.
In his speech, the Head of EULEX congratulated Lithuania for its State Restoration Day and thanked both the Lithuanian gendarmes belonging to Public Security Service who are currently part of the EULEX RFPU, and the RFPU gendarmes from the Italian Carabinieri for their outstanding performance and for their service, particularly during the tense time at the end of 2022.
“The monitoring activity you did, through reconnaissance patrols, helped bring a certain degree of stability and confidence in a very critical situation,” Wigemark said, highlighting his gratitude to Lithuania and to Italy for contributing to the Mission’s RFPU.
EULEX’s Head also recalled the ultimate sacrifice of Audrius Šenavicius, EULEX’s Customs Officer from Lithuania who was killed in the line of duty when his vehicle came under fire from unknown persons in northern Kosovo on 19 September 2013.
Before awarding the medals, Colonel Paulauskas expressed his appreciation for the Mission’s work in supporting the safety and stability of Kosovo and in protecting democracy and human rights.
Evoking the history of the Lithuanian state and recalling the principle of democracy as its founding value, Paulauskas reaffirmed the commitment of Lithuania to supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom.
“We know what it means to lose sovereignty and to fight for it, to sacrifice your life for it. This is why we are so supportive to Ukraine: this is not a war for territory, but it is a war for independence and freedom,” Paulauskas said.
After the medal ceremony, Colonel Paulauskas and the five Lithuanian gendarmes honored the memory of Šenavicius by laying a wreath at his memorial site. near Zvečan/Zveçan.