Merkel: Fake news about troops in Lithuania show we should be alert

Angela Merkel and Saulius Skvernelis
Reuters / Scanpix

After meeting with Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Merkel emphasized it was very important that the incident was solved very fast.

“It was very important for us to be able to cooperate in the very fast solution of the incident (…) and that this was merely a provocation. We should be very alert of such provocations,” Merkel told a news conference in Berlin.

Lithuania’s law-enforcement are currently working to identify senders of misleading information to the parliamentary speaker and the police earlier this month about German troops stationed in Lithuania having allegedly raped a teenage girl. According to data provided by prosecutors, the letter came from outside the EU.

Lithuania’s Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis has said the provocation could “originate from Russia” in an effort to discredit NATO forces. Merkel did not comment on the potential origin of the news.

Germany started stationing a few hundred troops in Lithuania in January. They will form the core of the international NATO battalion, which is being deployed in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region.

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