Around a hundred German soldiers arrived in Lithuania on Sept. 4, part of NATO’s increased presence on the Alliance’s eastern flank following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The German troops make up the command unit of a new brigade, a force usually made up of around 3,000-5,000 soldiers. The soldiers are part of Germany’s 41st tank brigade and arrived in Klaipeda port, Lithuania, by ferry from Kiel, Germany. The unit consists of about 100 personnel, as well as equipment for command and control, communications and logistics.
“The arrival of the first German troops as part of the NATO brigade represents an important step in strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence at a critical time for our security, and sending a clear message that NATO will defend every inch of Allied territory,” said NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu.
The brigade’s command staff will remain permanently in the Baltic nation, while combat units will join them on rotation for exercises. At the Madrid Summit in June, NATO leaders decided to strengthen NATO’s forward defences, by enhancing NATO’s battlegroups in the eastern part of the alliance up to brigade level. Germany, which leads the NATO battlegroup in Lithuania, already has some 1,500 soldiers in the country. The four NATO multinational battlegroups were set up in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia in Poland after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. They were enhanced earlier this year in response to Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, and four new battlegroups are being established in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.