German Army to Send 5,000 Personnel to Lithuania

The Bundeswehr announced on Monday that they plan to send 5,000 soldiers to Lithuania for the construction of a permanent base that will be stationed by both members of the Bundeswehr and other members of NATO in order to further solidify the western alliance’s strength on the eastern front.

A First in Decades:

A detachment of 20 soldiers was sent on Monday from the Berlin-Brandenburg airport to Lithuania, where they will prepare for the arrival of their comrades, overseeing the construction of barracks, accommodations, and other forms of infrastructure.

The Federal Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, promised soldiers that the state “will do everything we can to equip the brigade the way it needs to be equipped right from the start.” The established military base will be the first permanent stationing of German soldiers outside of the country since the end of World War II, showcasing European concerns regarding the Russian Federation.


German Federal Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, speaking in Lithuania. (Photo – Euronews)

The Kremlin has not taken the force lightly, however, with Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov stating that this base would raise tensions between the Russian Federation and NATO.

The Inspector of the Army, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, stated that the move was a “very important signal that Germany is living up to its responsibility” to its NATO allies, ensuring the protection of Europe’s eastern states.

The total force expected for the new base will consist of 4,800 active soldiers alongside 200 civilian Bundeswehr members and employees to maintain the base. Soldiers have been redirected from their stations in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, while a third detachment would be a NATO battle unit.

But some have raised concerns regarding the cost of such a military investment. The station is set to cost Berlin 800 million euros, creating an even deeper dent in Germany’s already unstable budget. The deployment will also cost the Bundeswehr a large sum of equipment, as equipment for domestic soldiers will have to be shifted in order to supply operations within Lithuania.


A mountain infantry soldier during a practice exercise near the Bavarian village of Bad Reichenhall. (Photo – Christof Stache/AFP)

This loss of equipment is beloved to be restored within years, with Armed Forces Commissioner of the Bundestag, Eva Högl, telling ARD Magazine, “Of course, this initially creates enormous gaps because the equipment of our soldiers, as well as the large machinery, are not yet available, which means everything will now head towards Lithuania.”

The Target on Lithuania’s Back:

Germany’s Ministry of Defense stated that the Bundeswehr chose to establish a base in Lithuania due to the nation’s position next to Russia’s Kaliningrad and their close ally, Belarus. Due to the proximity between the two countries, Lithuania is commonly thought of as a key point for an invasion if the possibility of a full-scale Russian invasion were mounted against NATO and the European powers.

Analysts have pointed to the Suwalki Gap, a portion of Lithuania’s territory that stands between Kaliningrad and Belarus, as a point of interest for Russian forces, as closing this gap would effectively cut off Lithuania from their Western allies.

Analysis:

The move to establish a military base in the eastern reaches of NATO’s territory is directly correlated with Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a war that has significantly hampered relations between NATO and the Russian Federation. For decades, West Germany acted as early NATO’s bulwark against the threat of a Russian invasion, with the nation housing a number of key military bases in Europe in hopes of deterring a Russian attack.

The German government volunteering to build and maintain this base is likely largely in order to deter Russia but also as a symbolic gesture that Berlin is giving back to those who protected them from the possibility of a Russian attack during the Cold War.

Trent Barr
Trent Barr
Trent Barr is an Intelligence Analyst for Atlas News. He has over ten years of experience and is trained in open source intelligence gathering. Trent Barr specializes in Latin American, German, and Vatican affairs while also holding an interest in Europe as a whole.

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