|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Feb 08, 2017 10:42 PM EST|
(Photo : Lithuanian Armed Forces) Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite (left) and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen welcome the first German troops to Lithuania.
Germany has deployed soldiers of its "Bundesheer" (the German Federal Army) to Lithuania as part of NATO's push to better defend the three Baltic States, which Russia will attack first should a new European War erupt.
The German infantry, which arrived Feb. 7, will form part of a 1,200-strong NATO multinational battalion that will also include French, Dutch and Belgian troops. NATO plans to deploy four of these multinational enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battalion battle groups throughout the Baltic States. Commanding this eFP battalion is Lt. Col. Christoph Huber of the Bundesheer.
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The United States in January began deploying the first contingent of a US. Army brigade combat team to Poland. This entire unit will number over 3,500 well-trained troops of the U.S. Army 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, U.S. 4th Infantry Division (3-4 ABCT).
3-4 ABCT is one of the best trained frontline units in the U.S. Army. Over the next few months, 3,500 men of 3-4 ABCT; 87 M1A2SEPv2 Abrams main battle tanks (the latest version); 144 M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), 18 M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers and 2,500 other vehicles will be deployed to Poland.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite hailed the German battalion's arrival, and said the deployment emphasizes NATO strong unity.
"Never before has Lithuania hosted military forces of such size and integrity. It sends a very clear and important message to all that NATO stands strong and united," she said.
"NATO deterrence protects peace."
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was also present at the arrival of the German troops, said the deployment showed that Lithuania is not alone.
NATO and the U.S. have been confronting Moscow's imperial expansionism since the strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, controlled by Ukraine, was seized by Russia in March 2014. Russia has since tried to seize eastern Ukraine and has made no secret of its intention to invade the Baltic States to expand further into Europe.
TagsGermany, Bundesheer, German Federal Army, Lithuania, NATO, Russia, Baltic States, enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battalion, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen
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