Nato has announced the arrival of over 100 German soldiers to Lithuania to strengthen the alliance presence in the eastern flank.
The deployment follows a commitment made by Nato members during the recent Madrid Summit to strengthen the alliance’s battlegroups up to brigade level, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The soldiers attached to Germany’s 41st tank brigade, along with equipment for command and control, communications and logistics, will set up a Forward Command Element (FCE) in Lithuania.
Comprising infantrymen, reconnaissance officers, and logistic soldiers, the FCE will be responsible for enhanced vigilance activities (eVA).
Panzergrenadier brigade 41 ‘Vorpommern’ commander brigadier general Christian Nawrat said: “This advanced command post will be separated from the enhanced forward presence (eFP) alliance and led by the army.”
While the brigade’s command staff will be positioned permanently in the nation, combat units will be deployed on a rotational basis for various exercises.
Nato spokesperson Oana Lungescu 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.”
In February this year, Germany provided 350 soldiers for the eFP in Lithuania. So far, nearly 1,500 German soldiers are deployed in the country.
The eFP battalion serves as subordinate to the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade.
Nato initially set up four battlegroups in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland in 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
To address security concerns amid the Ukraine crisis, four new battlegroups are being formed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.