After reports of racist and antisemitic behavior, Germany withdraws a platoon from a NATO mission.
According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, Germany has returned a platoon from a NATO deployment in Lithuania following complaints of racist and antisemitic behavior as well as sexual assault.
The decision was announced on Twitter by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who stated that the transgression will be “punished with all severity.”
Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote, “The wrongdoing of few soldiers in Lithuania is a slap in the face of everyone who works day after day in the Budeswehr [Germany military] to serve the security of our country.”
The misbehavior of few soldiers in Litauen is a slap in the face to everyone who serve in the #Bundeswehr of our country’s security on a daily basis. The entanglements tarnish the Bundeswehr’s and Germany’s reputations. This will be done with extreme caution. 1/2
June 16, 2021 — A. Kramp-Karrenbauer (@akk)
Following Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission sent soldiers to the Baltic nations and Poland to dissuade Russia from additional moves.
The entire platoon will be withdrawn immediately, according to Kramp-Karrenbauer, and the troops will arrive in Germany on Thursday.
According to Der Spiegel, four German soldiers operating in the eFP operation were first detained as part of the probe. In late April, the soldiers are accused of singing antisemitic and right-wing songs in a hotel, as well as videotaping a sexual assault against another soldier.
Separate charges of sexual and racial abuse inside the platoon were also made, according to Der Spiegel. A female soldier said she was subjected to sexual harassment, including having the term “whore” etched on her weapon by other soldiers. A soldier of Afghan descent is claimed to have been subjected to racist insults as well as anti-Semitic remarks. On April 20, some people reportedly sang to mark Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anuauskas told reporters that Germany is conducting the probe and that Lithuania is not engaged, according to Lithuanian National Television and Radio (LRT).
“We are not being kept up to date on the investigation’s progress. The Lithuanian military is not, and cannot be, involved in the investigation,” Anuauskas said on Tuesday.
Eberhard Zorn, Germany’s Inspector General, apologized to his Lithuanian counterpart. This is a condensed version of the information.