No Agreement Prohibits NATO Troops in Eastern Europe, Analyst Says ({{commentsTotal}})

Contrary to a statement made by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, NATO and Russia have no agreement that would prohibit the alliance from deploying troops to Eastern Europe, Kaarel Kaas, the editor of Diplomaatia monthly, said on Thursday.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Russia awaits explanations from NATO on breaching the agreement with Russia with its increased activity in the Eastern European member states. According to Lavrov, the agreement prohibits a permanent NATO presence in Eastern Europe.

“So much rubbish has been coming from Russian authorities recently that I wouldn't pay too much attention to all kinds of statements. There has been no agreement between NATO and Russia that would prevent NATO from deploying troops to Eastern Europe, that is Russia's invention,” Kaas told ETV on Thursday.

He added that Russia's credibility within the system of international relations is in doubt in light of current events.

Kaas does not consider an arms race likely but noted Russia has considerably increased its defense spending in the past 5-6 years, and said a tense period in international relations will probably follow.

Speaking about possible options for increasing security in Estonia that have been discussed in NATO, Kaas mentioned the need for 10 interceptor aircraft, 1-3 ships and storage of weapons and ammunition for ground troops so that in case of crisis, only personnel needs to be brought in. Permanent ground troops have been mentioned but is an open issue, Kaas said, adding that U.S. General Philip Breedlove has said that the initial plan should be outlined by mid-April.