The commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Riho Terras, sees the United States' decision to increase funding for its military presence in Europe as a sign that supporting their allies in Eastern Europe is still important.
“Today's news, on the anniversary of the Treaty of Tartu, shows that the US, as the strongest ally of NATO as well as Estonia, is still dedicated to its transatlantic relations, and supports the independence of European countries,” Terras told ERR's Aktuaalne Kaamera on Tuesday.
Terras stated that the USA’s decision to increase its military presence in Europe was mainly based on Russia’s behavior towards its neighbors, especially the Ukraine, over the last years.
“We can't forget that Crimea is still annexed and declared part of Russia. It’s quietly starting to fade from memory, but this is actually aggressive behavior against its neighbors, as a result of which its neighbors don't feel safe,” he said.
Terras went on to say that he didn’t think Russia was planning to counter the Amercian move yet. “Russia has just increased its conventional forces in its Western Military District by three new divisions, which is almost 60,000 soldiers. This all means the situation can’t escalate much further.”
In response to Russia’s repeated accusations that NATO was in violation of the 1997 Founding Act stationing troops in Eastern Europe, Terras said that if anyone was in violation of these agreements, it was Russia.
He added that while a single allied brigade was stationed on this side of the Russian border, Russia had moved three divisions into the area.
Editor: Dario Cavegn