“The first troops are planned to arrive next week but the number will be very small. (…) The main deployment and heavy movement will start in February,” Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, commander of the Joint Staff, told journalists.
In his words, the last troops of the battalion will come to Lithuania in June.
All in all, the Allied battalion to be stationed in Lithuania will consist of about 1,200 troops, including half of troops from Germany that will head the unit.
For some time, the troops will stay in Rukla before redeployment to another location. Lithuania has suggested that in the long run Germany should move its battalion to a military venue planned next to the capital Vilnius.
NATO last year decided to station an international battalion in each of the Baltic states and Poland in an effort to deter Russia.
“This is a response to the changed security situation in the Baltic region and the changed security situation in NATO’s eastern flank,” said Vaikšnoras.
In his words, the Allied battalion “together with units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and arriving Allied units will defend our state” in case of aggression against Lithuania.