The minister refrained from elaborating on Germany’s plans of heading an international NATO battalion in Lithuania, emphasizing that all decisions would “be made in time” for the NATO Summit in Warsaw scheduled for July.
“We comply with our commitments and our promises, we always have. Agreements on the matter will also be made in Warsaw during the NATO summit,” said the minister when asked about Germany’s possible command of a NATO battalion in Lithuania.
“We will take responsibility – these are the expectations that we face, and we will not attempt to avoid them. There are no final decisions in Germany at the moment, there are still six weeks left until the NATO summit in Warsaw but they will be made in time,” Steinmeier said at a joint news conference with Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius.
The German minister also emphasized the need for the Western world to continue the dialogue with Moscow, regardless of the differences of opinions on Ukraine, dismissing the European Union’s (EU) sanctions for Russia as merely a measure for implementation of the ceasefire agreements in Eastern Ukraine.
In late April, Lithuania’s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said he had been assured by his German counterpart about Germany’s plans of taking a leading role in the shaping of a NATO battalion-size unit in Lithuania. The German government has not elaborated on the plans so far.
Under the plans discussed by NATO, an international battalion of up to 1,000 troops would be stationed in each of the Baltic states. Currently, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia each host a company of US troops – about 200, with other Allies sending their troops to exercises on an irregular basis.