Germany is preparing to permanently deploy 4,000 soldiers to Lithuania, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Monday in Vilnius.
Infrastructure and training facilities need to be constructed, but Pistorius said that Berlin would be putting a “robust brigade” in the Baltic country.
Pistorius had traveled to Lithuania to watch NATO training drills with military alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
After the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Berlin pledged a year ago to keep a combat brigade ready to defend Lithuania. However, a permanent deployment in Lithuania has been controversial until now. Vilnius demanded it, but the German government did not immediately commit.
In addition to approval from the German governing coalition, there is also support from the opposition for the decision. Foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter, a lawmaker from the center-right CDU, said it was a “decision of reason and reliability.”
The announcement comes shortly after a short-lived mutiny in Russia by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner.
But a spokesman for the German defense ministry said in Berlin on Monday: “The planning that is starting now is to be seen solely with the preparations of the Vilnius summit and is not linked to the events of the past weekend.”