About 100 German soldiers arrived in Lithuania on Sunday after Berlin promised to beef up its presence on NATO’s eastern flank amid Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
The soldiers disembarked from the ferry in the coastal city of Klaipeda and they will form the command unit of the new brigade, which usually consists of about four thousand soldiers.
“Our message to our allies here on the east side is that we are committed to security,” Major General Christian Norat said.
He added that the command will be permanently stationed in the Baltic country, and combat units will join him for training.
A senior German military official said the first exercise could take place in October. Germany, which leads the NATO battle group in Lithuania, has about 1,500 soldiers.
With the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) called for an increase in NATO forces and the creation of brigades to replace existing units.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in June that his country was ready to deploy additional troops to Lithuania “to form a strong combat brigade that could act both to deter and defend against any aggression.”
The Atlantic has strengthened its eastern flank in recent years, especially since 2014. In 2017, four multinational battlegroups were deployed in the three Baltic countries and Poland. After the start of the Russian operation, Atlantic decided to form four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.