Germany Sends First Soldiers for Permanent Lithuania Force

Germany is setting up a military base in Lithuania with the intention to deter Russia from further attacking its neighbors. The base is set to be fully operational with nearly 5,000 troops by 2027.

The first group of German soldiers arrived in Lithuania on Monday as part of a new brigade that will be permanently stationed on NATO’s eastern flank.

The advance team of about 20 staff will begin setting up the base. They will eventually be joined by around 4,800 German soldiers.

The brigade, to be named Panzerbrigade 45, will be fully deployed by 2027.

“This is the first time that we have permanently stationed such a unit outside Germany,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at a farewell ceremony in Berlin on Monday.

“I know there is still a lot to do, including on site. The infrastructure has to be right, the barracks have to be there, the accommodation,” Pistorius said.

“There is still a lot to be done on the Lithuanian side,” the minister added. “We will do everything we can to equip the brigade as it needs to be equipped from the outset.”

Responding to the deployment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the German military presence in Lithuania would escalate tensions.

Why is Germany stationing a brigade in Lithuania?

Germany’s Defense Ministry said the new military base is intended to deter Russia from further attacking its neighbors after the invasion of Ukraine. 

Lithuania has a border with the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad and Moscow’s close ally Belarus. The German army, or Bundeswehr, said this makes Lithuania the most exposed state on NATO’s eastern flank.

Western military analysts in the West have long viewed the Suwalki Gap, the part of Lithuania’s territory lying between the two, as a potential flashpoint area in any standoff between Russia and NATO.

The aim is to station 4,800 troops and around 200 civilians permanently in Lithuania in coordination with NATO.

Berlin will deploy two combat troop battalions from the German states of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia to form the core of the new Lithuania brigade.

A third battalion will be a multinational NATO battle unit as part of the alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence force.

A battalion is already in Lithuania, under German command, with rotating personnel from several other nations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *