German soldiers head to Lithuania for NATO training as Europe strengthens defence


German troops have arrived in Lithuania for a NATO exercise as Putin’s war in Ukraine rages on. Germany’s Bundeswehr soldiers arrived in Lithuania, bordering Latvia and Belarus, for the first exercise of the NATO brigade for the increased protection of the alliance partner. 

According to the Lithuanian army, a total of 250 soldiers from the German NATO brigade with equipment will take part in the military exercise “Fast Griffin” and practice with Lithuanian troops.

NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum website said the German troops will exercise together with Lithuanian units for the next two weeks on a training area in the vicinity of the city of Rukla.

German troop members and military vehicles of the Jägerbataillon 413 Torgelow were transferred by ship from Kiel across the Baltic Sea to Lithuania.

After arriving in the port of Klaipeda on Wednesday evening, the German troop contingent set off in a convoy for the Lithuanian military base in Rukla, according to a Bundeswehr spokesperson. 

On NATO’s website, they said the training was part of Germany’s response to the NATO Summit in Madrid in June 2022, where Allies agreed to work towards a New Force Model.

They said Germany “has decided to dedicate an entire combat brigade to the defence of Lithuania”, in addition to “its existing role as the framework nation and major force contributor to eFP Battlegroup Lithuania”.

It was also shared that the 41st Mechanised Infantry, or Panzergrenadier, Brigade will still be based in Neubrandenburg in north-eastern Germany, but “will be placed at a high state of readiness to deploy quickly to Lithuania when needed”.

The Commander of 413 Battalion, Lt Col René Ochs, said: “We are happy to be in Lithuania to train with our comrades and friends from the Lithuanian Army. 

“The new German enhanced Vigilance Brigade will play a significant part in defending every inch of NATO territory, especially here in Lithuania.”

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However, NATO is unlikely to accept Ukraine’s entry as it is at war with Russia, which would compel fellow members to join and potentially spark a world war.

Mr Anusauskas said that while there would be repercussions, the West “cannot remain in the same position as they were when the war started”.

He then said “security guarantees for Ukraine must be increased now” after Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four regions of Ukraine, and added separately to Reuters: “These events in Ukraine closely follow the scenario which was tried in the Baltics in 1940. 

“There is the sham self-determination, there is the festive ceremony in Kremlin, and then the annexation.

“In the scenario, what follows is terror and exploitation of local resources. Which in this case are the people, which after the annexation will be sent to die in the war.”

Meanwhile, the Kremlin dismissed reports which claimed NATO had warned members Putin was set to carry out a nuclear test on Ukraine’s border.

The Times reported on Monday that Russia had moved a train thought to be linked to a unit of the defence ministry that was responsible for nuclear munitions close to Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia did not want to take part in what he cast as Western exercises in “nuclear rhetoric”.

He said: “The Western media, Western politicians and heads of state are engaging in a lot of exercises in nuclear rhetoric right now. We do not want to take part in this.”


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