Germany and Lithuania have embarked on a pivotal chapter in their military partnership, with an agreement that will see a permanent German armoured brigade stationed in Lithuania. This action is indicative of the two countries' collaborative commitment to bolster regional security.
Brigade Details and Deployment
The newly signed agreement reveals plans for a brigade consisting of approximately 4800 German soldiers. The first units are expected to arrive in Lithuania within the next four to five years, with the brigade slated to be fully operational by the year 2027. Additionally, an extra battalion will occasionally be rotated in for limited periods to supplement the force.
The brigade will be composed of troops from two prominent German military divisions. The 122nd Armoured Infantry Battalion from Bavaria and the 203rd Armoured Battalion, presently located in North Rhine-Westphalia, will be relocated to Lithuania.
Facilities and Funding
Efforts are being taken to provide attractive living conditions for the soldiers and their families. This includes facilities like German-language schools, housing, kindergartens, and air links. To facilitate this, the Lithuanian government plans to dedicate 0.3% of its GDP in the coming years to building housing and training grounds. However, this will potentially lead to tax increases to fund these investments.
Lithuania's geographic position is of strategic importance for the defence of the Suwalki gap – the only land access that the Baltic countries have to the rest of the EU and NATO. This move further underlines Lithuania's need to be prepared for a variety of scenarios, seeing Russia as the main potential threat.
Germany’s Previous Deployments
This is not Germany's first military placement in a foreign country. Since 2010, Germany has maintained a permanent military presence in France with the Jägerbataillon 291 unit stationed in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, close to Strasbourg.