Lithuania Launches Intensive Military Exercises with NATO Allies

Lithuania launches major military exercises with over 20,000 troops, part of NATO's largest drills since the Cold War, as it bolsters defense amid regional tensions.

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Trim Correspondents
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Lithuania Launches Intensive Military Exercises with NATO Allies

Lithuania Launches Intensive Military Exercises with NATO Allies

Lithuania is launching one of its most intensive military training cycles of military exercises, involving over 20,000 Lithuanian and allied troops and thousands of pieces of military equipment. The exercises are part of NATO's Steadfast Defender 24, the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War, involving more than 90,000 troops from 32 allied countries.

The first exercise, Saber Strike, will involve around 600 US troops and 120 vehicles being redeployed from Poland to conduct live-fire exercises with the Lithuanian Armed Forces. In parallel, the German Armed Forces' exercise Grand Quadriga 2024 will deploy over 3,000 German troops and 200 pieces of military equipment to Lithuania. In May, the Immediate Response exercise will involve the US and Lithuanian troops, spring, exercises conducting the first live-fire training exercise in the Baltic Sea with the HIMARS reactive salvo firing system.

Chief of Defence General Valdemaras Rupšys stated that the intensity and scale of the exercises have been increased in response to changes in the geopolitical situation. Around 17,500 soldiers from 10 NATO member states are participating in military drills in Poland and the Baltic states, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The exercises, called Anakonda, are the biggest drill the Polish forces have ever held, with 12,500 Polish troops involved.

Lithuania is also experiencing one of the most intense training periods this spring, with more than 20,000 participants, including Lithuanian and allied troops, as well as thousands of pieces of military equipment. The active cycle of military exercises at the NATO level began in February and will continue throughout 2024, with the army commander describing the intensity of both collective defense exercises and national exercises as "very intense this spring".

Why this matters: Lithuania's increased military exercises and partnerships with NATO allies reflect the country's commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities amid regional tensions and geopolitical uncertainties. These exercises serve as a deterrent and demonstrate Lithuania's readiness to respond to potential threats in the Baltic region.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit first troops deployed in May to see the first German brigade troops deployed in the country. The initial command element of over 20 military personnel has already arrived in Vilnius and will oversee the planning and military infrastructure requirements. The full German brigade is expected to reach operational capability in Lithuania by 2027, with around 5,000 military and civilian personnel expected to be moved to the country, some with their families.

Key Takeaways

  • Lithuania launches major military exercises with over 20,000 troops from NATO allies.
  • Exercises include Saber Strike, Grand Quadriga 2024, and Immediate Response in the Baltic Sea.
  • Exercises aim to strengthen defense capabilities amid regional tensions and geopolitical uncertainties.
  • Germany to deploy 5,000 military and civilian personnel to Lithuania by 2027.
  • Exercises demonstrate Lithuania's readiness to respond to potential threats in the Baltic region.