Outgoing Defense Minister Lobbies NATO to Ramp Up Security in the Baltic States
Minister of Defense Urmas Reinsalu is in talks with NATO to increase its air presence in the Baltic states due to the situation in Ukraine. The United Kingdom has already announced plans to increase its contribution in NATO’s Baltic air policing mission.
Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond told the House of Commons on Monday that the UK will offer additional Typhoon fighters as part of UK’s contribution to NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, ETV reported on Monday.
The fighters of the Royal Air Force would take part in the mission from late April with the Polish air force due to take over the policing mission, Hammond said.
He added that it is up to NATO to decide how many fighters will be deployed, and when and to which base.
Earlier this month, the largest member state of NATO, the US, sent six additional F-15 fighters accompanied by two KC-135 refuelling aircraft to the air policing mission.
Reinsalu is in talks with NATO allies to increase the presence of the alliance in the Baltic states because of developments in Ukraine.
“It is the moment when we have a right and a national obligation to demand more security in our region, and we are in serious consultations with our allies,” Reinsalu told ETV on Monday.
Analyst Jörg Forbrig told CNN on Monday that Russia has begun restoring its former sphere of influence and the world needs to act, not just talk about sanctions.
“If we allow Russia to set a precedent in Ukraine today - most of all in Crimea, but maybe also eastern Ukraine - then I don’t think there is a guarantee for other neighboring countries, including the Baltic states, that they won’t be subjected to the same pressure. That is why I believe the Baltic states are at great risk, even though it may not happen immediately. The Russians will probably look towards Moldova and Georgia first,” he told ETV.