Within a few hours, the Lithuanian police found out that the news was fake. However, the incident caused vivid reactions among German media, which accused Russia of initiating the fake news campaign, Sputnik Germany wrote.
Although there is still no evidence that would help to resolve the case, Spiegel Online journalist Matthias Gebauer wrote without much consideration that the Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Lithuania were "targeted by a concerted disinformation campaign, which was apparently controlled by Russia."
According to Gebauer, Moscow "has been trying to criminalize NATO presence and undermine Lithuania's support for the placement of the troops."
However, the Federal Defense Ministry didn't confirm the information published by Spiegel Online magazine. Answering the question of whether it could confirm the report, which was allegedly based on anonymous statements of the Ministry's and Bundeswehr representatives, the Defense Ministry stated that "it can't confirm the information."
As it turned out, the article is solely based on a single email of unknown origin. This raises serious questions about the reliability of the German magazine, as well as concerns related to fake news.
What actually happened in Lithuania on February 15, remains unknown. The police investigation is underway.