Lithuania’s Defence Council has decided to initiate negotiations to buy Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas told reporters on Tuesday, as the NATO member seeks to build a tank battalion.
The Leopard 2 is made by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, part of German-French technology group KNDS.
“Our intention is creating a tank battalion, but much will depend on conditions, such as what price we agree on. So I can‘t name any details yet,” he said.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, NATO has pledged to strengthen its presence on the alliance’s eastern border.
Lithuania, a neighbour of Russia and Moscow’s close ally Belarus, currently does not operate tanks. The new tank unit is scheduled to be combat-ready by 2030.
Germany has committed to permanently deploy a combat-ready brigade of about 4,800 soldiers in Lithuania by 2027, which will be the first permanent foreign deployment of German troops since World War Two.