Lithuania wants German troops 'for marriage, not one night stand'

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By Euronews
Soldiers of the German Bundeswehr 41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade take part in a military exercise at the Gaiziunai training ground some 130 kms west of Vilnius
Soldiers of the German Bundeswehr 41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade take part in a military exercise at the Gaiziunai training ground some 130 kms west of Vilnius   -   Copyright  AP Photo

Politicians in Lithuania are locked in an argument about German troops being stationed in the country, and how quickly they can arrive. 

Some 3,000 German soldiers have been assigned to the Baltic state as part of a German-led NATO brigade, as the military alliance beefs up its presence in the region. 

However, the infrastructure is not yet in place to host all of them -- they're lacking training areas and barracks for accommodation -- so only the command element will be physically stationed in Lithuania.

Meanwhile, the rest of the brigade will be on standby in Germany until needed, able to deploy within ten days, and they also plan to go to Lithuania for exercises.  

German army is not the kind of girl you can invite for a good evening by the lake in the open air.
Gitanas Nausėda
President of Lithuania

That's good enough for Lithuania's Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, who told local media that any Russian build-up near the border would happen over a longer period of time than just ten days. 

Other politicians aren't so easily convinced. 

The country's foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has voiced his annoyance that the agreement between the two countries calls for German troops to be stationed in Lithuania, not to arrive within ten days.

And that's where Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda comes in. 

In a media interview, he said the German army "is not the kind of girl you can invite for a good evening by the lake in the open air". 

"It is a serious army that needs to be offered a marriage contract," he said. 

Credit: AP Photo
Commander of the German Bundeswehr 41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Brigadier General Christian Nawrat, right, and Lithuania's President Gitanas NausedaCredit: AP Photo

Lithuania's public broadcaster LRT reports the comments drew criticism from a women's rights group which branded them "sexist".

The president's office has rejected public criticism of his comments.