Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to Lithuania on Tuesday that Germany is ready to send extra soldiers there in response to repeated demands from the Baltic states ahead of a NATO meeting.
Germany, which leads a NATO combat group in Lithuania, had expanded the size of its deployment from 550 to 1,000 soldiers even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, all of which were once Soviet-ruled but are now EU and NATO members, are concerned that they may be next if Russia beats Ukraine.
They have demanded additional NATO soldiers and the formation of brigades to replace the present units since the beginning of the fight.
“We are prepared to strengthen our commitment and grow it into a formidable combat brigade that can act as a deterrence as well as protect against an assault,” Scholz stated alongside three Baltic presidents.
Brigades are typically made up of 4,000 soldiers.
“It’s also critical for us to talk about how we’ll respond to the Russian strike by doing all we can to ensure Russia doesn’t win this war,” he added.
“I believe that no one has any illusions about Russia currently,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda remarked. We must accept that the Russian danger will persist.
He stated, “There can be no conversation, collaboration, or accommodation with this nation that continues to preserve its colonial goals.”
“We need to make it clear to the attacker that NATO has not only the will but also the ability to defend every millimetre of its territory,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stated.
NATO’s eastern border has been strengthened in recent years, especially since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Four multinational combat units were deployed to the three Baltic nations as well as Poland in 2017.
NATO has agreed to establish four additional combat units in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, following the commencement of the Russian invasion in late February.
On June 29-30, the NATO summit will be held in Madrid.