February 28, 2015 / 12:57 PM / in 3 years

Germany prepared to sell tank howitzers to Lithuania: Der Spiegel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is prepared to sell tank howitzers to Lithuania, German magazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday.

Deputy defense minister Katrin Suder said in a defense committee meeting it would be possible to sell howitzers to Lithuania as the German armed forces had a sufficient number of them, the magazine said.

It added that Suder had stressed Germany wanted to help its NATO partner modernize its forces and would “favorably examine” a potential request for tank howitzers.

A spokesman for the German defense ministry said Lithuania had not made an official request but the country had expressed an interest and Germany was prepared to help.

Lithuania, like Latvia and Estonia - part of the Soviet Union for much of the last century - worries that Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in Ukraine may be a foretaste of it reasserting itself in other former Soviet territories.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Stephen Powell

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