Announcing the decision on Twitter, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the offense would be “punished with all degrees of guilt”.
Initially four German soldiers were withdrawn as part of the investigation. Later, however, a platoon of German troops was withdrawn.
The troops are in Lithuania as part of NATO’s increased forward presence, a mission that trains local troops as a deterrent against Russia in a number of Eastern European countries.
“The violation of some soldiers in Lithuania is a slap in the face to all those who work in the Bundeswehr (German army) day after day to serve the security of our country,” Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote on Twitter. BBC, Thursday (17/6/2021).
He said the entire platoon would be withdrawn with “immediate effect”, and that any necessary investigations and proceedings would be carried out in Germany.
On Tuesday, Kramp-Karrenbauer said any soldier who knew about the incident but did not report it would also face punishment.
Also read: Berlin’s Right-wing Extremist Values Germany’s Biggest Threat
According to Der Spiegel, the allegations were related to a party held at a hotel in Lithuania in late April.
At that time a number of German soldiers were suspected of bullying, threats of violence, filming incidents of sexual assaults against other soldiers, and singing anti-Semitic songs.
Separate allegations later emerged of sexual and racial abuse within the platoon, while soldiers reported that scores of people sang a song to mark Adolf Hitler’s birthday on April 20, according to Der Spiegel.
The German government has had to take action against alleged extremism in the armed forces at least twice in recent years.
Last year, Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer ordered the disbandment of some of the elite KSK commandos after 20 of its members were suspected of right-wing extremism.
But on Tuesday, German media quoted him as saying that the KSK would not be completely dissolved after a year of reforms.
Read also: So the Nest of Senior Extremists, German Elite Forces Disbanded
Meanwhile, in 2017, inspections were ordered at all German military barracks after Nazi-era memorabilia was discovered in the two barracks.