Germany weighs in on NATO build-up plans for Eastern Europe — Analysis
Berlin reportedly suggested that Russia has key infrastructure, but wants troops to be stationed back home.
Germany has reportedly objected to the idea of sending several thousand more NATO troops to the alliance’s Eastern flank, suggesting an alternative scheme instead.
According to Die Welt reports, Olaf Scholz (German Chancellor) proposed the stationing of support units and fuel stock in Poland and Baltic states. However, Scholz did not approve the deployments of whole additional brigades. The majority of troops, according to Scholz’s plan, would remain in their home countries at full combat readiness, only conducting short-term maneuvers in the country whose security they are supposed to enhance.
As part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence, the military bloc is planning to send an additional 5,000 troops each to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Die Welt reported. According to Die Welt, the German troop will be supporting Lithuania while UK troops – Estonia and Canada will support Latvia. The US, however, already has a strong contingent in Poland.
According to Die Welt, however, such a large deployment would have a high cost, as the three support nations already lack fully-equipped brigades.
Former NATO high-ranking official Heinrich Brauss told The Outlet that only the German military would be able provide this support over the next few years. This appears to be true also for European NATO member countries.
It was these issues that led to Chancellor Scholz proposing an alternate scheme.
Unnamed “NATO Diplomats” are cited by Die Welt as lauding Berlin’s plan as a “Flexible, targeted deployment” that offers the opportunity to also re-dispatch troops to other battlefields, if necessary.
According to the article, Berlin is yet to persuade Canada and UK to adopt this model in the NATO summit that’s currently underway in Madrid.
According to reports, the Baltic countries are unhappy about having only truncated brigades in their territory. Tallinn Vilnius, Riga and Vilnius worry that they may be more easily invaded by a Russian army in the event of war.
The outlet went on to describe the three nations as NATO’s “Achilles heel” in the East due to their proximity to mainland Russia and its exclave, Kaliningrad region. Journalists claim that Russian troops could seize control of the region faster than any military alliance can deploy sufficient reinforcements from Central Europe. The scenario in which the Baltic states would be freed from Russian forces is called a counter-offensive.
NATO increased its presence in its Eastern flank shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Each of the eight international combat groups that were stationed in Poland and the Baltic states saw an 800-plus increase in troops. This was in addition to the more than 1000 additional soldiers. NATO combat units with similar sizes were located in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Czech Republic.