German troops attacked in Lithuania: report
PR dla Zagranicy
Four soldiers were lightly injured after a group of off-duty German troops stationed in Lithuania as part of NATO a mission to deter Russia were attacked, Poland’s defence24.pl website has reported.
The attackers have so far not been identified following the incident on Saturday morning, the website said.
The German soldiers were off duty and not in uniform at the time of the attack, which took place as they were waiting for a taxi in Jonava, a city with a population of around 30,000 in central Lithuania, according to defence24.pl.
It added that Lithuanian military police, supported by the German armed forces, were investigating.
The injured soldiers belong to a battle group commanded by Germany deployed after NATO decided last July to send four rotating multinational battalions to the military alliance’s eastern flank.
The reasons for the attack are unknown, but German soldiers in Lithuania have previously been subjected to “provocation”, according to defence24.pl.
It added that several months ago, Russia spread a false report of rape by German soldiers stationed in Lithuania.
A spokesperson for the Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament was quoted at the time by media as saying: "It is likely that the false report was spread in order to discredit the presence of NATO forces in Lithuania."
After a decision taken at a NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016, about 1,200 soldiers will be stationed in Lithuania, including 400 to 600 from Germany, defence24.pl said.
It added that the contingent is equipped with Leopard 2 tanks and Marder infantry combat vehicles.
German military units will be strengthened by Belgian, Dutch and Norwegian forces, defence24.pl added.