Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence (MoND) has announced the design phase of an administrative, residential, training and logistical supply site to support Lithuanian and German forces with appropriate military infrastructure.
Project Upper Neris Terrace, as it is designated, will provide capacity to host 3,000 troops: 1,000 from the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Brigade – comprising artillery and logistical support battalions – as well as 2,000 personnel from Nato’s Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group (eFP BG).
The MoND stated in an 8 November press release that “The Upper Neris Terrace at Rukla will include administrative, residential, logistical infrastructure, as well as sports, training and exercises premises, a medical facility, mess-hall, leisure and spiritual wellbeing spaces, as well as all necessary sewage and water system and roads.” The site will be based in Rukla in central Lithuania.
Germany, which leads the eFP BG, already has 1,500 soldiers stationed in the country. There are also 50 German soldiers permanently stationed in the Forward Command Element of the German Brigade for Lithuania.
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The starting design for the new site is worth approximately €6m ($6.42m) and it will be implemented by the Turkish company Denzay. Lithuania will halve the cost with Germany.
Subsequently, a €300m construction phase is expected to be completed between 2025 to 2027.
The Upper Course Neris Terrace is not the only large-scale project implemented in Rukla. The permanent logistical support facility nearby to serve the German-led eFP BG needs is already halfway to completion.
The base will ensure maintenance and storage for allied vehicles, equipment and supplies, and personnel workspace.
The constructions began in August 2022 and are planned to be completed in March 2025. The project is financed by Germany and carried out by the German company FEPS, with the help of 15 Lithuanian construction subcontractors.
Balancing Germany’s personnel commitments to Lithuania
Since the German Defence Minister, Boris Pistorius, announced the permanent presence of 4,000 troops to Lithuania as part of a bilateral commitment to supporting Baltic security in June this year, there are concerns about the difficulty of funding the brigade deployment on such a basis.
Establishing infrastructure is one way of sustaining the German personnel stationed on Nato’s eastern flank, however much more infrastructure will be needed to accommodate the 4,000 troops to be deployed there at some point in the near future.
While the German Government has halved the cost of the new project this time, it appears Pistorius has committed to funding the presence of the additional 4,000 personnel before they have even arrived in Lithuania.