Germany intends to dispatch an extra 4000 troops to Lithuania on a permanent basis, reinforcing NATO’s eastern sector, as stated by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius during his trip to Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, on Monday.
Pistorius, a representative of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, added that the implementation of this plan hinges on the establishment of requisite infrastructure to provide lodging for the soldiers and areas for their training drills.
Responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s government promised in June 2022 to station a fighting force battalion in Lithuania to safeguard it against potential attacks.
However, there has been a persistent dispute concerning whether these troops would have a permanent base in Lithuania, a proposal strongly endorsed by the Lithuanian government.
The German government had shown considerable reticence about this request for a considerable length of time before Pistorius, in a first of its kind, issued a clear commitment to this deployment during his Vilnius visit today.
At present, only a command center from the referred German battalion, comprising around 20 soldiers, is located in Rukla, Lithuania. The German High Command has the 41st “Vorpommern” Armoured Brigade on high alert, distributed across various locations within Germany, primed for rapid deployment to the Baltic nation within a ten-day timeframe in case of escalating tensions.
Currently, the battalion is conducting its third training iteration, involving the recent transport of about 1000 soldiers and approximately 300 military vehicles to Lithuania for an exercise scheduled to last until July 7th. Pistorius was present to observe this training.
Furthermore, hundreds of German troops have been stationed in Rukla, Lithuania, since 2017, where Germany commands a NATO battle group. This group presently consists of around 1600 soldiers, with nearly half of them from the German military.