VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian leaders hailed a “historic event” as Germany on Monday began deploying troops in the Baltic country — a NATO member — marking the first time since World War II that German forces will be based outside the country on a long-term basis.

About two dozen soldiers arrived in Lithuania, laying the groundwork for a further 150 to join them later this year. The deployment is expected to be up to its full strength of 5,000 by the end of 2027.

“This is the first time that we have permanently stationed such a unit outside of Germany,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in Berlin at a farewell ceremony for the preliminary command of Germany’s Lithuanian brigade, according to German news agency dpa. Pistorius called it “an important day for the German army.”

In the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas said that the move was “a great example” for all the countries on NATO’s eastern flank, on the border with Russia and its ally, Belarus.

Source: AP News
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