Enhanced Forward Presence: first German Soldiers arrive in Lithuania
Vilnius, Lithuania, 25 January 2017
The first German soldiers have arrived in Lithuania to help set up a multinational NATO battalion. They landed in the capital city of Vilnius in the early evening on 24 January. With enhanced Forward Presence, the Transatlantic Alliance is responding to its eastern member countries’ increased security needs.
(© Bundeswehr / Hochholzer)
In the next few days, the seventeen soldiers of the advance party will prepare for the arrival of further troops at the Rukla military base, about 80 kilometres north-west of Vilnius.
Under NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence, one of four multinational battalion-sized battlegroups will be present in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland respectively. The individual composition of the battlegroups will change on a rotational basis.
The decision to this effect was taken at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July 2016 with a view to further strengthening the Alliance’s defence and deterrence capabilities. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany are responsible for setting up these units.
Leading role for Germany in Lithuania
Germany will lead the battlegroup in Lithuania, initially comprising about 450 soldiers. The complete unit will eventually consist of more than 1000 soldiers, including troops from the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg.
There is no plan to permanently station soldiers in the Baltic states. Instead, the entire battlegroup with all its soldiers and equipment will be replaced every six months, which will provide the opportunity to practise deploying to NATO countries.
The German soldiers’ equipment in Lithuania includes Marder armoured infantry fighting vehicles, Leopard 2 battle tanks and Fuchs armoured transport vehicles as well as a number of other wheeled and tracked vehicles.
This is a translation of an article by PIZ EinsFüKdoBw Redaktion published on www.bundeswehr.de