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Historic agreement: Germany to deploy troops in Lithuania to reinforce NATO flank

About 5,000 German soldiers will form a brigade in Lithuania from 2024, reaching full strength by 2027, strengthening NATO’s eastern flank with Russia.
Credit: Germany Defense Ministry
Historic agreement: Germany to deploy troops in Lithuania to reinforce NATO flank

The German Ministry of Defense announced a significant step in NATO’s eastern defense strategy with the signing of an agreement by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and his Lithuanian counterpart, Arvydas Anušauskas, in Vilnius on 18 December 2023.

This agreement lays the foundation for the permanent deployment of a Bundeswehr brigade in Lithuania, its first permanent troop deployment abroad since the end of World War II, with about 5,000 troops expected to be deployed in 2025.

Pistorius emphasized the deployment as a “historic” decision and a clear signal of solidarity with NATO allies aimed at deterring Russia and protecting NATO territory. This move, prompted by Russia’s war against Ukraine, represents a significant shift in Germany’s security policy.

The Brigade will comprise approximately 4,800 soldiers and 200 civilian Bundeswehr employees. They will be stationed near Vilnius and Kaunas, in Rūdninkai and Rukla.

“We should expect not only good scenarios, but also the very worst scenarios. So we must be ready … Russia remains the main threat to us and NATO”, Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said.

The decision, first announced by Pistorius in June 2023, moves swiftly towards implementation with the signing of the agreement. The preparatory work will begin in the second quarter of 2024. Initial training and exercise activities are expected to follow.

Lithuania will provide the military and civilian infrastructure for the brigade, with new constructions and modernizations planned. The Brigade is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2027 and will be led by the Army’s Division 2025.

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