Europe

NATO presence in Baltics sends clear signal, Lithuania says

  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, right, and Lithuania's Presidend Dalia Grybauskaite speaks with a soldier during the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion welcome ceremony at the Rukla military base some 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by framework nation Germany. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, right, and Lithuania's Presidend Dalia Grybauskaite speaks with a soldier during the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion welcome ceremony at the Rukla military base some 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by framework nation Germany. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, speaks to the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen in the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion mobil command center at the Rukla military base some 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by framework nation Germany. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, left, speaks to the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen in the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion mobil command center at the Rukla military base some 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by framework nation Germany. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Bundeswehr soldiers of the 12th Mechanised Infantry Brigade, 122th Infantry Battalion take part in a NATO enhanced forward presence battalion welcome ceremony at the Rukla military base some 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by framework nation Germany. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    German Bundeswehr soldiers of the 12th Mechanised Infantry Brigade, 122th Infantry Battalion take part in a NATO enhanced forward presence battalion welcome ceremony at the Rukla military base some 130 km (80 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The NATO enhanced forward presence battalion in Lithuania will be led by framework nation Germany. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

Lithuania's president says that large numbers of NATO forces being stationed in the Baltics sends a clear signal that the alliance stands "strong and united."

Dalia Grybauskaite says that Lithuania has "never before" seen "forces of such size and integrity" deployed in one of NATO's easternmost countries close to key Russian exclave Kaliningrad.

Grybauskaite spoke Tuesday at a ceremony attended by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to welcome a German battalion.

Germany will lead the multinational unit of more than 1,000 soldiers that will be based near Kaliningrad with a navy base and long-range missiles. NATO battle groups are also being stationed in Poland, Latvia and Estonia as part of an alliance mission as countries in the region fear a resurgent Russia.