Defence Germany Lithuania

NATO bolsters Eastern flank as German troops arrive in Lithuania

| 2024-04-14 2 min read

NATO bolsters Eastern flank as German troops arrive in Lithuania

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The first German troops of a brigade to be fully deployed as the German Army 45th Brigade Lithuania within 4 years arrived in Lithuania on Monday, 8 April, when Lieutenant General and Bundeswehr chief Alfons Mais visited Vilnius. 

Around 5,000 military personnel and civilians will move to Lithuania, including family members. “Lithuania’s security is our security,” German ambassador to Lithuania Cornelius Zimmermann said.

Initially, more than 20 personnel will oversee military planning and infrastructure, and that number will grow throughout the year, according to the Lithuanian Defence Ministry. Germany will transfer three manoeuvre battalions including combat support units, formed by both existing and new units.

Discussions on the brigade began after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Germany committed to the project in June 2023. They will serve in two locations, Rudninkai and Rukla, while military families will stay in Kaunas and Vilnius.  

The 203rd Panzer Battalion in North Rhine-Westphalia and 122nd Armoured Infantry Battalion in Bavaria will move to Lithuania. The country’s Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group will be transformed into a multinational battalion. 

Lithuanian Defence Minister Laurynas Kasciunas said technical needs would be clear by the end of the year, as set out in a roadmap signed by the Lithuanian and German defence ministers in 2023. “We have a clear plan in terms of military infrastructure and we are ready to meet the needs when it comes to civilian infrastructure,” Kasciunas added.

“We will deploy troops to Lithuania on orders when needed. We have the capability to do that, but I don’t think it will be necessary because we have so many volunteers,” Major General Ruprecht von Butler, the 122nd Armoured Infantry Battalion chief, said in January. “Many soldiers really want to be here to demonstrate the alliance’s willingness to defend our home countries,” he added, in contradiction to earlier German press reports.