Lithuania will be ready to receive German brigade by 2026 – minister

Germany said in June it was ready to step up its military mission in its NATO ally, part of an alliance push to defend its eastern borders with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow.

But the Lithuanian president and other officials acknowledged at the time that the facilities needed hundreds of millions of euros in upgrades.

“By 2026, Lithuania will be ready to accept a full brigade with all that entails,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said after meeting his German counterpart in Berlin.

“This is a very important step for Lithuania, a very important investment.”

Germany has led an international battalion of around 1,000 soldiers in Lithuania since 2017.

He inaugurated a permanent command center there in October, saying it would allow him to move a brigade – 3,000 to 5,000 troops – from Germany to Lithuania in 10 days if necessary.

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have called for larger NATO deployments to defend their territories since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, in what Moscow calls a “special military operation”. “.

But there were concerns that any permanent deployment would be costly and highly provocative for Moscow.

So far, NATO has chosen to keep thousands of troops in countries further west, including Germany, on standby, ready to act as rapid reinforcements.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz in Berlin and Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, writing by Andrius Sytas, editing by Stine Jacobsen and Andrew Heavens)

James R. Rhodes