Bundestag president in Vilnius: many Germans were pacifists, changed thinking after Bucha

  • 2023-06-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Many Germans used to be pacifists but this thinking has changed after the Bucha and Irpin massacres in Ukraine, Barbel Bas, President of the Bundestag, told a high-level meeting of speakers of NATO parliaments hosted by Vilnius on Friday.

“Many Germans, like myself, were pacifists. I left pacifism behind after Bucha and Irpin in May 2022," the German parliamentary leader said.

She said that the perception of Germans had changed since these events and they had recognized that defense spending increased security, whereas in the past, Germany had under-invested in the military despite warnings from its allies.

She also noted that her country was providing a brigade for the defense of Lithuania and its command element had already arrived, which showed Germany's commitment to the defense of the region.

“The Bundeswehr is providing a brigade for the defense of Lithuania. The Forward Command Element of that German brigade is already in place,” Bas noted.

In her speech, she also recalled that, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany had sent additional 350 troops to the NATO Forward Presence Battle Group and noted that there were more than 800 German troops in Lithuania at present.

Last year, the Lithuanian and German leaders signed a joint communiqué on the deployment of a brigade in Lithuania, but only the brigade's Forward Command Element is now based in Lithuania, despite Vilnius' wish for the brigade's permanent presence.

Until now, Berlin has said that part of the brigade would be deployed in Lithuania and the remaining part would stay in Germany.

In April, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that he and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had agreed on a gradual deployment of the German brigade in Lithuania. Vilnius aims to have the brigade in place by 2026.

Germany currently leads an international battle group of up to 1,500 troops, deployed in Lithuania since 2017.

Vilnius is hosting a high-level meeting of speakers of parliaments of NATO member countries on Friday, held to discuss the regional security and preparations for the forthcoming NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12.

Invitations to the event in Vilnius have been extended to the speakers of the parliaments of NATO member countries, the speakers of the parliaments of Sweden and Ukraine, and the chairpersons of the parliamentary foreign and security committees of these states.