Berlin and London have decided to send additional troops to NATO battlegroups in Eastern Europe, the defense ministers of the two countries announced on Monday.
Germany will send 350 more troops to Lithuania on Monday as part of a NATO operation amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
“The Bundeswehr is sending 350 additional soldiers to the Battle Group in Lithuania,” Christine Lambrecht said during a visit to Münster.
“We are thus strengthening our contribution in terms of forces on NATO’s eastern flank and sending a clear signal of determination to our allies,” added the minister, assuring that “we can count on” Germany.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned on Sunday that Germany was ready to send additional troops to the Baltic states.
Germany is conducting a NATO operation in Lithuania, where 500 German soldiers are deployed.
Meanwhile, the UK is sending its own contingent of 350 troops to the Battlegroup in Poland, Defense Minister Ben Wallace has confirmed.
These troops are in addition to the 100 British army engineers already present in the country.
It’s about “showing that we can work together and send a strong signal that Britain and Poland stand side by side,” Wallace told a news conference with his Polish counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak.
The announcements come amid growing fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine. The West accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of massing more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders.
Russia denies plans to invade the country but has demanded major security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine will never join NATO.
Scholz, criticized at home and abroad for his alleged leniency towards Moscow, is in Washington on Monday for his first meeting with US President Joe Biden.
He will also meet the leaders of the Baltic states in Berlin this week and travel to Ukraine and Russia the following week.