Decision on permanent troop deployment to Lithuania ‘up to NATO,’ says Germany

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A decision on a permanent deployment of a German brigade to Lithuania will be “up to NATO,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Tuesday in response to calls by Vilnius for a larger NATO presence in the country.

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“This not down to who wants what - or who wants to provide what - but rather up to NATO,” Pistorius told reporters as he visited the Pabrade training ground in Lithuania.

Since 2017, Germany has led an international battalion with some 1,500 troops in Lithuania as part of a NATO effort to deter Russia from attacking the Baltic region, seen as one of the weakest spots in the alliance’s eastern flank.

Berlin also has a brigade of some 3,000 to 5,000 troops on standby in Germany with the ability to deploy to Lithuania within 10 days if needed.

But the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been calling for bigger and permanent NATO deployments to defend their territories since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

There have been concerns, however, that any permanent deployments would be costly and deprive NATO of the flexibility to freely move troops to other locations along its eastern flank.

Pistorius said it was unclear whether a German brigade would be deployed to Lithuania on a permanent basis, adding that any such move would require the construction of extensive infrastructure to house troops as well as families.

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