VILNIUS - Lithuania and Germany agreed this summer on the deployment of a German brigade in Lithuania, and not on the brigade's readiness to arrive in Lithuania swiftly, if needed, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says.
His comment followed the statement of German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who visited Lithuania's Rukla last week, saying that the brigade assigned to Lithuania would be sent to the Baltic country within ten days, if needed.
Lithuanian officials said earlier they expected the brigade to be permanently deployed in Lithuania.
"Today, the situation is de facto as it is, and the Germans have confirmed that yes, we will come, in case of danger. We know that, but this is not the agreement we had," Lithuania's top diplomat said reporters at the Seimas. "The agreement signed by President Nauseda and Chancellor Scholz is on a brigade in Lithuania ready to fight."
In his words, the Lithuanian government has already agreed with the Ministry of National Defense on an infrastructure plan to host the brigade.
"It's clear from these dates when Lithuania will be ready to host the brigade. And perhaps it's not strange to expect for both the minister and Lithuania in general to voice a very clear invitation to the Germans to indicate whether the dates that Lithuania is providing are acceptable and in line with their planning schedule. We haven't heard that", Landsbergis said.
WHAT BOTH LEADERS AGREED
Signed by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz in June, the joint communique states that "in addition to the current and reinforced enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group already in place, Germany is ready to lead a robust and combat-ready brigade in Lithuania dedicated to deter and defend against Russian aggression".
Initially, led by a permanently deployed Brigade Forward Command Element in Lithuania, this brigade will consist of German combat forces specifically designated for this purpose, potentially augmented by possible multinational contributions, "to form a powerful and exclusively dedicated combat formation ready to be rapidly de- and employed.", the documents reads.
These forces will be integrated into a regionally focused, intensive and comprehensive exercise program including rotating forces and Lithuanian Home Defense Forces in order to improve and ensure interoperability, cohesion, combat effectiveness and the ability for rapid reinforcement, the joint communique states.
The aforementioned forward presence command element was deployed in Lithuanain in September.
MORE INFORMATION FROM ANUSAUSKAS
Last Saturday, Defense Minister Lambrecht stated that "we will ensure that the brigade can be moved to Lithuania in a short period of time, within 10 days".
Joining her at the press conference, Lithuanian National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said such a time frame was sufficient to react to the build-up of military forces at the country's borders, which Ukraine's experience showed.
Landsbergis hopes Anusauskas has more information about the German brigade's possible permanent deployment in Lithuania.
"But it's strange why he doesn't say so then", the foreign minister said. "So far, there's been no need for Lithuania to talk about hosting brigades, adapting infrastructure and so on, so when one states such facts, it's necessary to be very, very precise about what we are talking about," the foreign minister said.