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The Worldwide Response to Russia's War On Ukraine

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  • German troops arrive in Lithuania, their first long-term foreign deployment since World War II


    German Army Chief Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais listens to a question during a media joint conference with Lithuanian Chief of Defence Gen. Valdemaras Rupsys and Lithuanian Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas as members of the Headquarters initial command element of the Bundeswehr's 45th Brigade Lithuania arrival by plane at a airport in Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday, April 8, 2024. Germany has made a commitment to deploy a heavy brigade with three maneuver battalions and all necessary enablers, including combat support and provision units, to Lithuania. In total, approx. 5 thousand German military and civilian personnel are expected to move to Lithuania with families in stationing the Brigade.

    VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian leaders hailed a “historic event” as Germany on Monday began deploying troops in the Baltic country — a NATO member — marking the first time since World War II that German forces will be based outside the country on a long-term basis.

    About two dozen soldiers arrived in Lithuania, laying the groundwork for a further 150 to join them later this year. The deployment is expected to be up to its full strength of 5,000 by the end of 2027.

    “This is the first time that we have permanently stationed such a unit outside of Germany,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in Berlin at a farewell ceremony for the preliminary command of Germany’s Lithuanian brigade, according to German news agency dpa. Pistorius called it "an important day for the German army.”

    In the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas said that the move was “a great example” for all the countries on NATO's eastern flank, on the border with Russia and its ally, Belarus.

    “We will create such a defense and deterrence architecture that no adversary from the east will even think about testing NATO’s Article 5,” he told reporters.

    Article 5 on collective defense is at the heart of the 32-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It states that an armed attack against one or more of the members shall be considered an attack against all.

    Some 4,800 soldiers and around 200 civilians with the German army will be stationed permanently in Lithuania, which is increasingly worried by its aggressive neighbors.

    Under an agreement, Lithuania is preparing military bases for the German brigade to be deployed in this Baltic state bordering Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave to the west and Belarus to the east.

    The German army, the Bundeswehr, has taken part in long-term operations abroad since the 1990s, first in the Balkans and then in combat operations in Afghanistan. At the moment, the Bundeswehr says German soldiers are deployed in Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as in the Mediterranean.

    However, this is the first permanent standalone German deployment, not on rotation as part of a multinational force.

    Kasciunas said the German brigade is expected to reach full operational capacity by 2027.

    “For us, this means more effective deterrence of the enemy and even greater security. It is an example of exceptional leadership and commitment as we actually see NATO’s collective defence and unity at work,” Lithuania Chief of Defence Valdemaras Rupsys added.

    Up to one-third of troops are expected to bring their family members, according to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry.

    Pistorius said Germany "will do everything we can to equip the brigade as it needs to be equipped from the outset.”
    ___

    Way to step up to the plate Germany!
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

    Comment


    • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
      However, this is the first permanent standalone German deployment, not on rotation as part of a multinational force.
      The brigade will be formed from two bataillons that are being removed from other brigades (bringing those down to three instead of four maneuver bataillons). The third bataillon of the Lithuania Brigade will be the EFP bataillon, which will still be rotating. Support troops (including an artillery battery) are currently embedded in the EFP bataillon, and at least so far there have been no announcements that these will be expanded.

      Official designation of the Lithuania Brigade will be the 45th Armored Brigade. Planned stationing for the two bataillons (and brigade-level support troops) will be the current Rudninkai training ground which is less than 5 km from the border to Belarus. The EFP bataillon will stay in Rukla in central Lithuania, co-stationed with the support troops of the only Lithuanian combat brigade.

      What is being send now is just a platoon-sized staff team as an ahead command, which is planned to a 150-men staff company by the end of the year.

      They do have significant problems finding volunteers to be permanently deployed to Lithuania. In one of the two bataillons slated for redeployment about 50% have declared they'd be willing to go. This is despite the MoD already announcing that there'll be significant bonus payments for volunteers (about 50% higher pay for singles, 100% higher if bringing family). The problem many have is that despite Lithuanian assurances to provide the necessary civilian dependent housing and infrastructure (schools etc) zero there has been zero movement so far in such investment - other than a statement of the Lithuanian government that they "will need to" invest 800 million Euro for this "in the coming years".

      Last edited by kato; 10 Apr 24,, 19:47.

      Comment


      • I can think of worse postings.
        If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Monash View Post
          I can think of worse postings.
          Pretty tough career posting though. You're away from your family for years. I would not have brought my family there if there were no schools or even indoor plumbing. There's not even a STARBUCKS.
          Chimo

          Comment


          • I'm sure you can catch a train or plane back to Germany in a couple of hours. And if you think Starbucks serves good coffee? You don't deserve to see your family ever again.
            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
              Pretty tough career posting though. You're away from your family for years. I would not have brought my family there if there were no schools or even indoor plumbing. There's not even a STARBUCKS.
              Don't know about the Starbucks, but can it be a situation like we have in Korea? 1 year unaccompanied tours? Avoids the issues with infrastructure costs as well as NEO issues.
              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
              Mark Twain

              Comment


              • Kato,

                Problem probably more for the GE Army threads but... In the German Army do the forward observers belong to the supported units or are they sent per mission by the supporting artillery?

                Thanks
                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                Mark Twain

                Comment


                • The Secretary General is 100% correct. NATO has Over Promised & Under Delivered for sure. I know some are tired of hearing but the problem with the US delivering was the hold up with a certain House Caucus. The Administration has done as much they could do under previous funding and law. Some folks put their jobs on the line to skirt some acquisition laws I would steer well clear of. But things are changing, I know we have stuff already on the way...hope & pray it is in time.


                  https://www.reuters.com/world/europe...se-2024-04-29/


                  NATO chief, on unannounced Kyiv visit, says arms flows to Ukraine will increase

                  By Reuters
                  April 29, 20248:49 AM EDT

                  Updated 3 hours ago





                  Item 1 of 3 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attend a press conference, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 29, 2024. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
                  [1/3]Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attend a press conference, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 29, 2024. REUTERS/Thomas Peter Purchase Licensing Rights, opens new tab

                  KYIV, April 29 (Reuters) - NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg told Ukrainians on Monday that his alliance’s members had failed to live up to their promises of military aid in recent months, but said the flow of arms and ammunition would now increase.
                  In an unannounced visit to Ukraine, the secretary general of the transatlantic military alliance held talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and was due to address Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada.

                  His visit – the third since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 - comes at a difficult time on the battlefield for Ukraine. After a failed Ukrainian counter-offensive last year, Russian forces have gained the initiative – at least in part due to a dearth of arms and ammunition from Kyiv’s Western partners.
                  “I will also be very honest with President Zelenskiy and also with the Rada that NATO allies have not delivered what we have promised over the last months,” Stoltenberg said on the train taking him into Kyiv on Monday.

                  “The United States spent six months to agree a package and European allies have not delivered the ammunition we promised. But now I’m confident that things will change,” he said.
                  Stoltenberg pointed to the U.S. Congress now having approved a Ukraine aid package worth more than $60 billion, swiftly signed into law by President Joe Biden, and an announcement last week by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of a “record high” commitment to Kyiv.


                  He also noted Germany had agreed to provide a new Patriot air defence system to Ukraine and the Netherlands had boosted its aid to Kyiv. He said he expected other "new commitments to come".
                  "This will make a difference – as the lack of support made a difference,” he said, alluding to Ukrainian setbacks on the battlefield.
                  He said the Russians had paid "a high price for marginal territorial gains" and Ukraine could still turn things around.

                  "It's not too late for Ukraine to prevail. But that’s why it's so urgent that NATO allies now actually do what we had promised and that we turn those commitments into real deliveries of weapons and ammunition and I’m now confident that will now happen.”
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                    The Secretary General is 100% correct. NATO has Over Promised & Under Delivered for sure. I know some are tired of hearing but the problem with the US delivering was the hold up with a certain House Caucus. The Administration has done as much they could do under previous funding and law. Some folks put their jobs on the line to skirt some acquisition laws I would steer well clear of. But things are changing, I know we have stuff already on the way...hope & pray it is in time.
                    Bravo!

                    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                      Problem probably more for the GE Army threads but... In the German Army do the forward observers belong to the supported units or are they sent per mission by the supporting artillery?
                      Artillery observers in the Bundeswehr are a function of Joint Fire Support Teams, which combine a forward "ground-ground" observer vehicle/troop with an air control "air-ground" vehicle/troop. These teams are tasked with directing artillery gunfire, rocket artillery, mortars, close air support by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft and naval gunfire as well as acting as a control cell for local airspace.

                      JFSTs are organized in platoons (five teams plus coordination cell) and attached to the heavy weapons companies of light and medium infantry (not mechanized, not armoured troops!) as well as each artillery battery. The JFST platoons in artillery batallions are intended to support mechanized/armoured units and are therefore also equipped with heavier vehicles.

                      In the current restructuring the JFST platoons in (brigade) artillery batallions will be separated from the batteries and form their own observer battery.

                      Comment


                      • Thanks Kato
                        “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                        Mark Twain

                        Comment


                        • Sweden plans $7 billion more military support for Ukraine to 2026


                          Ukrainian President Zelenskiy meets Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson in Harpsund

                          STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -The Swedish government has agreed on additional military support to Ukraine totalling 75 billion crowns ($7.01 billion) over three years, it said on Wednesday.

                          The minority government said military support under the framework agreed with its supporting party could include donations of defence equipment, financial contributions and financial support for the procurement of defence gear.

                          Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on X the decision "demonstrates Sweden's practical solidarity with Ukraine in our struggle for freedom".

                          The 75 billion crowns will be equally divided over the three years. Including the proposed addition, Sweden's total planned military and other support to Ukraine will amount to over 100 billion crowns.

                          "To strengthen the Swedish support to Ukraine, and increase the long-term perspective, the government and the Sweden Democrats have agreed to introduce a framework for the military support to Ukraine for the years 2024–2026," the government said.

                          It said the framework agreement may weigh on the Nordic country's public finances beyond 2026.

                          Ukraine's Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said Swedish-made weapons had "already proven themselves on the battlefield".

                          "Archers and CV-90s help Ukrainian defenders drive the enemy out of our land," he said on X.
                          ________
                          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                          Comment


                          • 2026?
                            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                            Comment


                            • UN Security Council to meet over attack on Kyiv children's hospital
                              https://www.reuters.com/world/europe...al-2024-07-08/

                              Later today the UN Security council will meet to discuss the Russian attack on a children’s hospital in Kiev. A hospital where children were receiving treatment for cancer…hooked up to dialysis machines etc.…
                              The meeting will be a null event as usual! There will be condemnation of the attack, and a resolution will be proposed, only to be vetoed by Russia.
                              But it will be interesting to see/hear how the Russian member will try to justify the slaughter of sick children!

                              When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

                              Comment


                              • With the NATO Summit in DC this weekend an interesting interview with officials from the 8 Baltic & Nordic nations...some of the earliest members and its newest.


                                As NATO summit kicks off in D.C., Nordic-Baltic states point to Ukraine : NPR


                                As NATO summit kicks off in D.C., Nordic-Baltic states point to Ukraine


                                JULY 9, 20245:21 PM ET
                                HEARD ON ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
                                By

                                Mary Louise Kelly

                                The NATO summit in Washington kicked off Tuesday morning. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly sat down with the top diplomats from eight Nordic and Baltic nations for a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council.



                                MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:



                                Picture a map of NATO members. Then zoom in to the countries closest to Russia in Northern and Eastern Europe - so Finland, Norway, the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Add in nearby Sweden and Denmark plus Iceland, and you have the members of a regional bloc called the Nordic-Baltic Eight, eight small-to-medium-sized countries in the shadow of a much more powerful neighbor, Russia. And in that sense, they will speak as one voice at the NATO Summit this week here in Washington.



                                This morning I sat down with top diplomats from those eight nations for a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council. My first question was to the newest members of NATO, Sweden and Finland. Do you feel safer now inside the alliance? Here's how Sweden's foreign minister Tobias Billstrom answered.



                                TOBIAS BILLSTROM: Indeed we do. And let me say very briefly that Sweden joining NATO was, of course, coming home. This was the end of a process which started in 1994, when we became members of the Partnership for Peace. And when we now became fully fledged members on the 7 of March, that was indeed a crowning achievement.



                                PASI RAJALA: For us, we have always been accustomed to taking care of our security on our own for a hundred years. So this is a big mind shift for us Finns to understand that we're no longer alone, that we're this wonderful group of allies and the United States and other allies. We felt secure before, but now we're even more secure.



                                KELLY: Finnish State Secretary Pasi Rajala. The foreign ministers knew they were speaking to Americans, who might not see Russia's war in Ukraine as a top priority. Lithuania's foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, on the other hand, is very closely following what is happening in Eastern Ukraine.



                                GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS: The whole security landscape is being shaped in Kharkiv. Lithuanian security landscape is being shaped in Kharkiv. The way that the war will go on, the way that Ukraine's been able to resist and push back on Russians - it will affect directly on my country's security.



                                KELLY: Yeah.



                                LANDSBERGIS: And that's why, if you take the countries who spend the most on their own security, it would be these countries. So this tells you the whole story.



                                THORDIS KOLBRUN REYKFJORD GYLFADOTTIR: And I think the U.S. also need to recognize that paying the insurance is always a smarter business than not doing so and then end up in a situation that is so much more dramatic on all fronts, more costly both in currency and in lives and in just the rule-based order. And there the interest of the United States really lies.



                                KELLY: The international rules-based order is a priority, as you heard there, for Iceland's foreign minister, Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir. Iceland has a population smaller than any U.S. state and is the only NATO member with no standing army. The U.S., on the other hand, outspends every country in the world on its military by a lot. The Nordic-Baltic nations agree that NATO doesn't work without the U.S. But there was laughter in the room when I asked what they make of American politics from across the Atlantic. Again, here's me questioning the foreign ministers of Sweden and Lithuania.



                                So as you know, we have political uncertainty and instability here. Our presidential race is in greater flux than anyone might have imagined for July of 2024. To what extent does political uncertainty domestically in the biggest, richest member of NATO influence what the alliance can do in terms of ambitions, in terms of capabilities?



                                BILLSTROM: First of all, I think that's - we all have full agreement, I think, here that the transatlantic link and the U.S. participation in NATO is, of course, indispensable. That goes without saying. But on top of that, I think that we all take our own responsibility very seriously regardless of the outcome of U.S. elections. And also, just on a side note, there is a tendency sometimes in European media to be very focused on the election outcome for the White House, but we all know that the Congress and the Senate has a lot to say when it comes to foreign security policy. And a president has a lot of power in the U.S., but you are not a Chinese or a Russian president. You have to think about what the Congress thinks about this.



                                KELLY: Although Congress, of course, has just held up Ukraine aid for many months, to the detriment of Ukraine's ability to fight.



                                BILLSTROM: Well, again, that's democracy, of course, and we can argue about this. So I'm not going to play down it, but that's democracy as well.



                                LANDSBERGIS: You know, a couple weeks ago, I had to comment on the upcoming elections in France and how that will affect the future of Europe or future of NATO and all that. Democracies are messy. In some cases, you would like them to be more - you know, more predictable, but they're just that. And if we look back into history - you know, First World War, Second World War - it took a while for allies to come together.



                                Now when you read any history book about the First or Second World War, you don't read about the messiness of elections and democratic processes. You read about, how did we see the war? Did we come forward, and did we provide the right answer? Or did we not? And at this point, I think that the main thing is that, unfortunately, we're not exactly there where we should be in order to meet the threat that Russians and its allies pose to an alliance. And we still - I think that the last chapter of this historic inflection point is not yet written.



                                KELLY: What I'm hearing from all of you is there's a need to safeguard assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine needs to win. So I ask the next question with genuine curiosity. Is there a need to Trump-proof NATO? He has suggested, as you know, that he's not going to prioritize assistance to Ukraine. How are you all thinking about that, Minister Rasmussen?



                                LARS LOKKE RASMUSSEN: Yeah. I wonder whether it's possible to Trump-proof anything. I had the honor, in my former capacity as prime minister, to participate in one of those summits years ago with President Trump, where he, you know, read out the total list of allies and their spending on defense. And he wasn't really satisfied for very good reasons because we made a promise in Wales many years ago to Obama, and we didn't deliver on that.



                                KELLY: Side note - back in 2014, NATO members made a promise to increase military spending to at least 2% of GDP by this year. And that is what Denmark's foreign minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, is referring to.



                                RASMUSSEN: The 2% targets. But things have changed now, and two-thirds of the allies now will meet these criterias. I think we should - instead of discussing whether we can Trump-proof things, we should discuss whether we could future-proof things. And that will give us an upper hand towards anyone in the White House in the future.



                                KELLY: Foreign diplomats from Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, all brought together by the Atlantic Council today as this week's NATO summit kicks off.
                                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                                Mark Twain

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