NATO allies are closely monitoring activities on its member states' eastern flank, foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said Tuesday, with reference both to the Russian Federation and Alexander Lukashenko's Belarus.
In summation of day one of this week's NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Riga, which Liimets attended and where both the hybrid attack organized by Belarus and actions by Russia in Ukraine and on Ukraine's borders were universally condemned and NATO's readiness and unity stressed, Liimets said that: "The [NATO] allies have called on Russia to stop these actions immediately,"
"Now is the best time and chance to unify the views of the allies on the security situation and challenges on NATO's Eastern Flank, which definitely includes the actions of the Russian Federation," she went on, echoing a line taken by all ministers present at Tuesday's meeting.
"We are grateful to the allies for their contribution to the security of the Baltic region. We must move forward from here and implement all the decisions made so far on the defense and deterrence posture, including on planning, reinforcement and modernizing the military structure," the Estonian foreign minister continued, according to a ministry press release.
The ministers said they regretted the fact that Russia has closed all diplomatic channels with NATO, despite the need for constructive dialogue between the two camps right now; NATO remains open to such dialog, they added.
The hostile actions by Belarusian authorities on its own western borders with the EU nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland were also in focus, with Liimets saying that the: "Brutal manipulation with lives, attempts to divide and discredit NATO and the EU – this calls for an unequivocal response, and NATO stands behind those allies who are under the greatest pressure."
The alliance's future and its next strategic concept were also on the table at Tuesday's meeting in Riga, the foreign ministry says.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also attended the meeting.
Liimets had also met with her U.K. counterpart Liz Truss in Tallinn earlier on the Tuesday, and covered the same issues. Truss also attended day two of the Riga summit.
The meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Riga continued today, Wednesday, and NATO has more information on its site here.
Estonia joined both NATO and the EU in 2004, as did Latvia and Lithuania.
Editor: Andrew Whyte