Around 70 German troops to join the international NATO battalion to be stationed in Lithuania landed in the Karmėlava airport, the Kaunas district, on Wednesday.
German flag
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

They arrived aboard two warplanes and will now proceed to Rukla.

The initial plan was to send 140 troops to Lithuania on Wednesday, however, the number of troops is lower, Captain Vaidas Žiogas, spokeswoman for the Motorized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, told BNS.

At the Karmėlava airport, they were welcomed by the battalion's commander Christoph Huber of Germany who arrived in Lithuania last week.

"From my point of view, with our presence here we are making a very strong symbol of NATO solidarity and we are contributing to NATO defense and NATO deterrence," Huber said.

"Back in Germany, we accomplished a very high intense training to prepare ourselves in the best way for NATO's enhanced forward presence mission," he said.

A total of approximately 450 German troops with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment are expected to come to Lithuania by the end of February.

According to Huber, the Germans will bring six Leopard 2A tanks and 20 Marder infantry fighting vehicles as part of the deployment. Troops from other countries contributing to the battalion will also bring their tanks and other equipment.

On February 1-10, about 450 German troops with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment should come to the Baltic state.

The international battalion to be finalized in June will consist of more than 1,000 troops from a few NATO member-states.

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