Baltic states start talks on increasing NATO contingent
The Baltic countries, amid the aggravation of the situation around Ukraine and the negotiations between Russia and the United States, are asking Brussels to increase the military presence of the alliance in the region. To date, only a few battalions are deployed there
The Baltic countries are negotiating an increase in the number of NATO contingents on their territory in connection with the threat from Russia. Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kallas said this, according to Reuters.
“ Of course, we are discussing with our allies the issue of increasing their presence here as a deterrent. If you look at the map, the Baltic states & mdash; this is a NATO peninsula, and therefore we have concerns '', & mdash; she said.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro on January 10, Callas also said that the Baltic countries are seeking an increase in their military presence from NATO and specifically the United States. “ In 2014, after the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the allies decided to deploy an international contingent in our country. Since then, there has been a battalion of British, French and Danish servicemen in Estonia, and in Latvia & mdash; another, under Canadian command. Our goal is & mdash; to strengthen this contingent, and the recent events on the border of Ukraine, of course, cannot but force us to redouble efforts in this regard, '', & mdash; she explained. According to Callas, the “ most powerful deterrent '' the appearance of US troops in the Baltics could become.
Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not rule out the possibility of increasing the military presence in the countries of NATO's eastern flank. “ If Russia once again uses force against Ukraine and continues the 'invasion' to Ukraine, then we must seriously consider the need to further increase our presence in the eastern part of the alliance '', & mdash; quoted by Reuters in Brussels.
An agency source among NATO diplomats confirmed to Reuters that NATO defense ministers could discuss additional deployments in the Baltic states at a scheduled meeting in mid-February.
In 2016, NATO members agreed to deploy four multinational combined battalions in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. In addition, fighters from NATO countries are present in the Baltic countries on a rotational basis, which protect the airspace in this region. The air forces of NATO countries have been protecting the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 2004. They are deployed at three military airfields, one in each state.
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