Visegrád countries to send unit to Baltic States
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland are ready to station a company-sized military unit in the Baltic States as part of NATO’s reassurance measures against Russia.
The Czech defense minister, Martin Stropnicky, told reporters in Tallinn on Wednesday that the Visegrád countries were ready to send a unit of approximately 150 troops. The troops would rotate every three months, with the four countries taking turns manning the unit.
Stropnicky said that if everything went as planned, the first unit would be deployed in early 2017.
Estonian Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso (SDE) said that he had been told by his Czech counterpart that it was possible that the next rotation of the Czech air force participating in the Baltic air policing mission would operate out of Estonia's Ämari air base west of Tallinn.
The minister also stated that the Czech Republic and Estonia’s understanding of global processes and concerns was identical.
“We attach high value to the readiness of the Visegrád countries to make a contribution to strengthening the security of our region,” Hanso said. “This is a clear sign of NATO solidarity.”
Both ministers stressed the need to ensure the security of NATO member states in the whole territory of the alliance, paying attention to all threats no matter where they originated. Both countries contribute to the NATO Response Force as well as to multinational operations in the Middle East and in Africa. The ministers also reaffirmed that there was the need to support Georgia on its path towards greater euro-atlantic integration, in which third countries can have no say.
At their meeting, the ministers also discussed the recent behavior of Russia, preparations for the NATO Warsaw summit, and matters related to Ukraine and Georgia.