Vilnius has accused Berlin of failing to fulfill its commitment to Lithuania’s defense
Berlin’s ambassador in Vilnius, Matthias Sonn, lambasted Lithuanian politicians and media in a fiery speech on Monday, claiming that relations between the two nations have been plagued by distrust.
The outburst was sparked by a debate in Lithuania over whether Germany was fulfilling its defense promises to the Baltic nation. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had vowed to increase his nation’s engagement in Lithuania to the level of a combat brigade.
“Any idea that by expressing discontent Germany could be pressured or bullied [into deploying a brigade] … will not bring one single additional German soldier to Lithuania,” Sonn told Lithuania’s parliament on Monday during a Lithuanian-German conference.
He branded the debate about Germany’s commitment to deploy a brigade on Lithuanian soil “corrosive and harmful” while brushing off criticism from Lithuanian politicians and media.
“I have detected … undertones which … imply … that Germany is backtracking [on] or is reluctant to fulfill its already existing commitments,” he said, adding that this is “not true” and such accusations “will not be useful for anyone.”
The diplomat then admitted that he was compelled to inform his superiors in Berlin that “our country had lost a degree of trust in the Lithuanian political spectrum, in the media and in the public” over the past years. He added that the debate on Germany’s commitments had been “suffused with a degree of mistrust in whether Germany is reliable as an ally.”
The commitment both sides were referring to was made in June. At that time, Scholz said during a joint press conference with Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nauseda, that Germany was “ready to step up our engagement” towards creating a “robust combat brigade that can jointly organize deterrence or countering aggression in Lithuania.”
Scholz did not set any specific dates at that time but Nauseda said that his nation expected a relevant decision that would increase the NATO presence in Lithuania “from a battalion to a brigade” to be made at a NATO summit in Madrid in July 2022.
December 21, 2022 at 12:36AM