On Monday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced that Germany will be stationing 4,000 troops in fellow NATO member state Lithuania in an effort to secure the alliance's eastern flank. It is a move that is likely to be seen by Russia as yet another escalation. "Germany is ready to permanently station a robust brigade in Lithuania," Pistorius announced from Vilnius.
While German commanders have led a battalion of approximately 1,000 multinational NATO troops in Lithuania for years, since the start of the war in Ukraine, Vilnius has requested additional reinforcements of German troops to take up posts inside its borders.
Lithuania is often considered the Baltic outpost for NATO's presence close to Russia as it shares a border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
According to Deutsche Welle, Pistorius's comments referred to both the Cold War and the Iron Curtain:
Pistorius explained the altered German stance in part by citing the country's own past, saying that until the end fo the Cold War, it was the former West Germany situated on NATO's eastern border to what was then the Iron Curtain.
"We were the ones who could always rely on NATO partners standing by our side in an emergency and steppign in and fighting with us for our freedom and security in Germany," Pistorius said.
Nowadays, Pistorius said, ti was Poland and the Baltic states that were exposed as West Geramny once was: "And we as the Federal Republic of Germany commit ourselves explicitly to our responsiblity and our obligation, as a NATO member state and as teh largest economy in Europe, to stand up for the protection of the eastern flank," he said.
Meanwhile, ZeroHedge reported that Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda promised to provide additional financial resources for increasing the NATO military presence in the Baltic region.
"We have a strong political willingness in Lithuania to find the necessary financial resources to be able to finance the infrastructural needs," Nauseda said amid meetings with the German defense head and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
The announcement comes as Lithuania prepares to host NATO's upcoming Vilnius summit during which it is expected there to be a push to ratify Sweden's membership although Turkey is still preventing it.
Given the weekend's events with Wagner staging a short-lived rebellion against Vladimir Putin, Stoltenberg commented on Russia's decision to invade Ukraine calling it a serious strategic "mistake."
"We are monitoring the situation in Russia. The events over the weekend are an internal Russian matter, and yet another demonstration of the big strategic mistake that President Putin made with his illegal annexation of Crimea and the war against Ukraine," he said.