US, NATO Firming Up Plans to Deploy Rotating Ground Forces in Baltic States
The United States of America plans to deploy rotating land and sea units in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states in cooperation with NATO to increase its presence in member states where currently only temporary air forces are based, ETV reported on Thursday.
The possibility was mentioned by Vice President Joe Biden last week on a trip to the region and now appears to be becoming more concrete.
According to comments made yesterday and the day before to media by Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for US President Barack Obama, it is one of the countermoves to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said the aim is to increase US presence in NATO member states that feel threatened by Russia’s provocations, especially Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Speaking to media on Air Force One en route to Rome after meetings between Obama and NATO officials on March 26, Rhodes said: "[G]oing forward we will be increasing our rotations of ground and naval forces to NATO allies to complement [...] aviation deployments. The United States is prepared to join those commitments so that we have a continuous presence to reassure our allies in terms of ground, naval and air assets going forward."
Denmark announced on Thursday that from May, it will send six fighters to the Baltic air policing mission.
“We want to send a signal to the Baltic states who are our good friends and also small states like us, that we have solidarity with them in the situation they are facing. They are nervous, they asked to enhance NATO air defenses and we wish to contribute. We are pretty good at it. We have contributed several times before, we know the area and it is natural for Denmark to do its bit,” Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said.