The first troops from the German brigade arrived in Lithuania on Sunday, as NATO pledged to reinforce its eastern flank amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The brigade’s commando unit, made up of about a hundred soldiers and military equipment, arrived by ferry from Kiel (Germany) to Klaipeda (Lithuania).
About 1,500 German soldiers are currently deployed in Lithuania as part of NATO’s multinational battle group, which was founded in 2017.
After this year’s NATO summit in Madrid, Germany, which leads the group, pledged to step up its efforts.
At the summit, the leaders of the Atlantic bloc pledged to “deploy a strong, combat-ready auxiliary force to our eastern flank, which will expand from an existing combat group to a brigade-sized unit when needed“.
A brigade has about 4,000 people.
“Our message to our allies here on the east side is that we are committed to ensuring security there.Brigade commander Christian Nawrat told reporters.
Brigade command units will remain permanently in Lithuania, while combat units will report for exercises, he said.
“We will be discussing training and future exercises in the coming week, we will certainly consult quickly, and then we will deploy the troops for this exercise.do mister Nawrat added.
A senior German military official told AFP that the first exercises at battalion level could take place in October.
Arturas Radvilas, head of the Lithuanian army, for his part declared that “Germany’s commitment is very important for his country“.
“We know it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of groundwork, but our goal is to work together nowRadvila said.
“We are ready to provide the necessary conditions for deployment, troops and equipment“, he added.
Lithuania also hosts rotating American battalions, reinforced after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, as well as Hungarian and Czech fighter jets serving in air policing missions.
In 2017, four battalion-level multinational battlegroups were deployed in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland. They are led respectively by Germany, Great Britain, Canada and the United States.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, NATO member states decided to form four new battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
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