German Troops In 'Line Of Fire': First Foreign Deployment Since WW2

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Apr 11, 2024 - 06:45 AM

This week Germany has begun deploying troops to the Baltic state of Lithuania, which marks the first such external deployment of its kind for Germany's military since World War II — and which is the result of Berlin adopting a firmer 'counter-Russia' posture after more than two years of war in Ukraine. 

While merely two dozen soldiers have reportedly arrived Lithuania thus far, the German contingent will be stationed there permanently. Currently Germany leads a NATO deployment in Lithuania of some 1,000 troops, but which is temporary.

Via AP

"This is the first time that we have permanently stationed such a unit outside of Germany," German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a ceremony seeing the troops depart from Berlin. He hailed it as "an important day for the German army."

Crucially, and sure to trigger deep alarm for Moscow, the permanent German force in Lithuania is slated to grow to 4,800 by the year 2027. 

German military leadership is touting this as in direct response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and 'aggression':

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is prompting Germany to do something unprecedented — to permanently base thousands of troops only about 100 kilometers from the border with Russia and right in the line of fire if the Kremlin ever launches an attack on NATO territory.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was in Vilnius on Monday to sign a deal with his Lithuanian counterpart Arvydas Anušauskas firming up the conditions on which 4,800 German troops plus 200 civilians will be based in the Baltic country.

"With this war-ready brigade, we are assuming a leadership responsibility here in the alliance and on NATO's eastern flank," Pistorius said, adding: "The speed of the project clearly shows that Germany understood the new security reality."

What is alarming for the significant risk of direct escalation between Russia and NATO with this new German deployment is the geography of this Baltic neighborhood: Lithuania shares a border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

This puts a permanent deployment of troops from a NATO country directly on Russia's borders. Additionally, Lithuania also borders Belarus, which forms a 'Union state' with Russia and currently hosts Russian tactical nuclear weapons. All of this comes as France's Macron has been talking up the possibility of sending Western troops directly to Ukraine.


Germany has already sent Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, which have by many accounts done nothing to sway the momentum of the battle in Kiev's favor. Instead, Russia has in the recent past published footage purporting to show several German-supplied tanks disabled and destroyed, burning on the battlefield.