German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has hinted that he is open to the possibility of deploying additional military forces in Lithuania to strengthen NATO‘s eastern wing against the concentration of Russian military forces on the border with Ukraine.
The United States has ordered the deployment of a force of 3,000 additional troops to reinforce NATO in Poland and Romania due to concerns about Russian invasion of the former Soviet republic.
“We are ready to do whatever it takes to reinforce” the German-led forces in Lithuania, Olaf Scholz said in an interview with the ARD network shortly before leaving for Washington where he will meet US President Joe Biden.
The German Chancellor said he will discuss the issue with the leaders of the three Baltic countries, who will visit him in Berlin on Thursday.
However, he again ruled out the possibility of sending weapons to Ukraine, due to Germany‘s policy of not sending weapons to war zones.
NATO has deployed four multinational combat forces with a total of 5,000 troops in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in response to Moscow‘s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
These NATO combat forces, under US, German, Canadian, German and British command, are tasked with delaying the progress of an attack in the region, buying time until additional NATO forces are deployed on the front line.
Olaf Scholz said that he saw some easing of tensions between the West and Russia by strengthening the dialogue between the US and Russia or within the framework of the so-called Normandy talks between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.