German forces have arrived in Lithuania to support NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
NATO and Lithuanian officials welcomed the unit at Klaipeda port by ferry from Kiel.
The 100 German troops will form the command unit of a new tank brigade, a force usually comprising 3,000 to 5,000 personnel of NATO’s eastern flank forces.
Unit command staff will permanently remain in the Baltic nation, with combat units participating in brigade exercises.
A NATO Spokesperson said, “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.”
NATO’s Multinational Battlegroup
At a June NATO summit in Madrid Summit, leaders agreed to conduct joint exercises and increase its forces to a brigade level.
Four NATO multinational battle groups were stationed in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland in 2014 due to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
This year, they undertook a series of enhancement exercises “in response to Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.” Four new battle groups are also forming in Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Romania.
Germany, which leads the battlegroup in Lithuania, already had a total of 1,500 soldiers in the country.
Enhancing Presence in Eastern and Northern Europe
This month, the UK Royal Army First Battalion participated in Exercise Dragon Charge at the Tapa Central Training Area, Estonia, with Danish and French troops to support NATO’s enhanced presence in Eastern Europe.
The UK also held a separate training, Exercise Vigilant Knife, to strengthen force interoperability with Finnish and Swedish troops and reinforce the alliance’s presence in Northern Europe.