Armed Forces

500 German Soldiers Deploy to Lithuania. Vilnius Will Acquire German Self-Propelled Howitzers.

  • Artystyczna wizja satelity z GPS Block IIA. Źródło ilustracji:
    Artystyczna wizja satelity z GPS Block IIA. Źródło ilustracji:

German Authorities have declared that they will deploy 500 soldiers to Lithuania, within the scope of the NATO operations related to the Ukrainian crisis. Vilnius is negotiating potential purchase of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers from the Bundeswehr’s unused inventory.

According to the information released by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence, 500 German soldiers are to be involved in the operations, within the period from April to July 2015. The Germans will be also involved in the international Iron Wolf exercise, which is scheduled to take place in June. 

Lithuanians have simultaneously started negotiations, regarding acquisition of the  PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, which have been withdrawn by the German Army. Currently, the Berlin authorities are analysing the options, regarding sales of military equipment for the allies, also in the light of the Ukrainian crisis. Lithuanian Minister of Defence stated that Germany understands the Lithuanian needs.

After the analysis is carried out, Lithuania is top receive an offer regarding the purchase of the  PzH 2000 howitzers. It is possible that this project will be realized with involvement of Estonia. Some PzH 2000 howitzers had been sold by Germany to Croatia earlier as well. This system is capable of hitting targets at distances of up to 40 km, using the enhanced projectiles. It has seen some combat use in Afghanistan.

Considering the information related to deployment of the German soldiers on the Lithuanian soil, it is worth to get back to the fact that the Germans have rejected the idea of permanent deployment of NATO units, when it came the countries of Mid-Eastern Europe. However, in the light of the Ukrainian crisis it has been decided that the German Air Force will bolster the Baltic Air Policing  operations, while the land forces would be involved in rotational exercises. Germany also has decided to increase, insignificantly, the defence spending. 

A lot of opinion makers state that NATO should carry out operations within the territories of the Baltic states within a much larger scope, than it is currently happening, in order to provide a greater degree of security and protection against the Russian threat. The authorities of Lithuania have declared that their aim is to maintain permanent presence of a battalion-sized unit within their territory. Estonia also has declared to be ready, to accept more NATO forces on own soil.