World German army sets up first overseas bases since Second...

German army sets up first overseas bases since Second World War

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“We are sending a clear signal of solidarity with the permanent stationing of this brigade in Lithuania,” said Boris Pistorius, the German defence minister.

“This is an important day for the brigade, for the Germany army, and for Nato,” he added.

The advance deployment is set to increase to more than 100 soldiers by the end of 2024. The bases will include military exercise areas, as well as housing, schools and sports facilities for the soldiers and their families.

German soldiers are stationed in Lithuania on a rotating basis as part of a Nato enhanced forward presence deployment.

Mr Pistorius made the surprise announcement that Berlin would set up a permanent presence last June.

A row of troops on the tarmac at an airport, greeting Lithuanian civilians after stepping out of a large military jet

Ever since Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a Zeitenwende(turning point) in military planning in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Berlin has made moves to modernise its military and strengthen its contribution to Nato’s deterrence capabilities.

Mr Pistorius took over as defence minister 14 months ago, after his predecessor, Christine Lambrecht, came under massive criticism for taking too long to address the holes in the German army’s fighting capabilities.

A member of Mr Scholz’s Social Democrats, Mr Pistorius has promised to make Germany’s armed forces “war ready”, a pledge that has met resistance from pacifists within his own party.

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