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Germany is ready to ramp up its military mission in Lithuania in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to Vilnius on Tuesday.

He said: “We are ready to strengthen our engagement and to develop it towards a robust combat brigade.”

Berlin sent hundreds of additional troops to Lithuania in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion, described by Moscow as a “special military operation”, and has deployed some 1,000 troops there as part of a German-led NATO combat unit.

Asked about reports that Spain plans to send German-built Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, Scholz said Berlin has not yet received an export request from the government in Madrid.

Any such request would be carefully assessed, he added.

Spain wants to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and Leopard tanks, according to government sources cited by newspaper El Pais on Sunday.

Germany has so far refused to deliver Western tanks to Ukraine.

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