The lack of military training facilities is a “showstopper” for the Baltic states’ better interoperability with allies, Harald Gante, Commander of Germany’s Field Army, has said.
“Training is a showstopper in the three Baltic states because there are not so many [training grounds] available. But a lot of troops are present here, so it’s a question of how to synchronise, how to organise it, how to get benefit out of each exercise,” Gante told reporters in Lithuania’s Rukla on Thursday.
He attended a meeting of the commanders of the allied battalions deployed in the Baltic states and the leadership of the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian Land Forces under the new 3+3 Format.
Meanwhile, Artūras Radvilas, commander of Lithuania’s Land Force, said training conditions in Lithuania are being improved.
“Training conditions are very important for [the allies] because if they come with bigger units, they cannot stay here without any activity,” he said.
As both officers pointed out, the 3+3 Format meeting focused on improving coordination and alignment to find the most effective ways to strengthen the deterrence and defence of NATO’s eastern flank.
“We talked today about some areas of interest that are valid for all of us and we learned that we can strengthen our effort with regard to training, exercises and logistics but also with regard to infrastructure,” Gante said.
There are plans already for the next 3+3 Format meeting, and it should take place in the second half of this year, the two commanders said.
“Today was about the assessment of the situation. We identified some areas where we can intensify cooperation, and we already discussed when and where we will conduct the next meeting on our level,” Gante said.
According to Radvilas, the next meeting will show how each element of the brigade’s command component will look in a larger format and what the military needs are.
Last year, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed a joint communiqué on the deployment of a brigade in Lithuania.
Lithuania is seeking the permanent presence of the brigade in the country, but Germany has so far only deployed its forward command element in Rukla.