RUKLA Lithuania Feb 7 NATO's military
deployment in Lithuania sends a powerful message that the
military alliance is strong and united, Lithuanian President
Dalia Grybauskaite said during a ceremony on Tuesday to welcome
a German battalion in the central town of Rukla.
"Never before has Lithuania hosted military forces of such
size and integrity. It sends a very clear and important message
to all that NATO stands strong and united," Grybauskaite said.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who attended
the ceremony, said the deployment of tanks and other military
equipment made it clear that Lithuania was not alone.
The deployment is designed to beef up the defense of eastern
Europe and send a signal of resolve to Russia, which has
denounced the build-up as an act of aggression.
The German army last month started sending about 200
vehicles, including 30 tanks, by train to Lithuania along with
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by