With Berlin planning to deploy a brigade in Lithuania, Cornelius Zimmermann, Germany’s ambassador in Vilnius, said on Thursday that about 4,800 troops and 200 civilian personnel will arrive in the country.
“I can inform you that we are planning to send about 4,800 soldiers and 200 civilian staff,” he told the Ziniu Radijas radio station on Thursday.
The deployment “will come in stages”, according to Zimmermann.
“I think there’s no use in having soldiers without housing, but there’s no use in having housing without soldiers. So I think it makes sense to build, step by step, the presence of German soldiers in Lithuania,” the diplomat said.
“So, what you need is very good coordination between the two sides and I think that’s just what’s happening,” he added.
However, the ambassador emphasized that the negotiations are still ongoing and he cannot disclose further details.
Berlin intends to deploy its brigade in Lithuania over the next few years, with an interstate agreement on this matter expected to be signed next year.
The plan is to station a tank battalion, two maneuver battalions, an artillery battalion, and a logistics battalion in Lithuania.
Vilnius and Berlin are currently negotiating what infrastructure Lithuania will have to provide for the incoming German troops.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has said that Lithuania will have to put in place not only military infrastructure, but also social infrastructure, such as schools, kindergartens and leisure facilities.
The ambassador said that schools are needed because “we have to assume that our soldiers will not just stay for a couple of years”.
“This is a long-term investment. We want our soldiers and their families to feel at home. We also want them to create bonds with the Lithuanian people,” he said.
Germany has also been leading NATO’s multinational battle group in Lithuania since 2017.
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