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HomeINTERNATIONAL NEWSLithuania's military chief backs German troops to deter Russia

Lithuania’s military chief backs German troops to deter Russia

Lithuania’s military chief backs German troops to deter Russia

Berlin (dpa) – The commander-in-chief of the Lithuanian armed forces, General Valdemaras Rupšys, has pledged his country’s full commitment to the planned stationing there of a German army brigade.

The most important goal must be deterrence against Russia, Rupšys said during a conference hosted in Berlin by the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces.

Germany is a “historic ally” and plays a leading role in securing the eastern flank of NATO, which the smaller NATO states cannot do on their own, the general stressed.

Lithuania, like its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Estonia, was part of the Soviet Union before its collapse in 1991. All three became NATO members in March 2004 and joined the European Union that May.

A week ago, Lithuanian Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė said her country expects EU assistance in expanding infrastructure for the enlarged NATO forces on the bloc’s eastern border.

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Lithuania itself budgeted €280 million ($298 million) for the necessary preparations, including the expansion of roads and military training areas, Skaistė told German Finance Minister Christian Lindner in Vilnius during a meeting last week.

Germany is currently spearheading efforts to beef up NATO’s so-called “forward presence” in the region with the permanent deployment of around 4,000 Bundeswehr troops in Lithuania.

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