BERLIN

Germany will bolster its forces in Lithuania to firm up NATO’s eastern flank, the country’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday.

A ministry statement underlined that up to 350 extra troops will be deployed to the multinational contingent in the Baltic nation, whose borders lie close to Russia’s.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, speaking in the western city of Munster, said the additional troops could go to Lithuania within five days amid Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine, which has raised tensions in the region.

Berlin is coordinating with Baltic countries on the issue, Lambrecht added.

“We are therefore strengthening our troop contribution on NATO’s eastern flank and sending a clear sign of our resolve to our allies,” she said.

Germany leads the NATO troops in Lithuania and currently contributes around 500 troops to the contingent.

Russia has amassed thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears it could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.

The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack, and threatened Russia with “severe consequences.”

Moscow, however, has denied it is preparing to invade Ukraine and said its troops are there for exercises.

* Writing and contributions by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara, Turkiye

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