VILNIUS (Sputnik) — Some Norwegian troops have already been deployed in Lithuania, while the remaining servicemen are expected to arrive by June.
"Military equipment of the Norwegian contingent serving in the international NATO unit is arriving in Lithuania. About 60 pieces of military equipment, including Leopard tanks, CV-90 infantry fighting vehicles, M113 armored personnel carriers, trucks and passenger vehicles. Equipment will arrive in Klaipeda seaport on Wednesday," the ministry's press service said.
In general, over 1,200 servicemen from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, France and Croatia are set to be deployed in Lithuania in 2017-2018 as part of the NATO forward presence battalion. So far, 450 servicemen from Germany, 100 from Belgium and 250 from the Netherlands have been deployed to the Baltic state.
Following the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, NATO has been boosting its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, citing Russia's alleged interference in the conflict as justification for the move. A decision of the alliance to deploy four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland was announced by the Alliance's secretary general after the NATO summit in July 2016.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that amassing troops and military equipment on its borders is provocative, violates past NATO pledges, and can lead to regional and global destabilization.
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