Kallas calls for more US forces in Baltics

Kaja Kallas
Kaja Kallas Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Russia's biggest deterrence is the American flag, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told the Financial Times while calling for more U.S. forces to be brought to the Baltics.

Kallas told the newspaper that Nato should strengthen its presence in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania whether Russia invades Ukraine or not.

"The biggest deterrence there is that you have big friends. If you are bullied at school, the bully doesn't bully you if you have strong and big friends, and it's the same with deterrence . . . The biggest deterrence to Russia is an American flag," she added.

The prime minister said concessions must not be granted to Moscow.

Kallas took part in a round of media interviews over the weekend, and told the U.K.'s BBC and Sky News that NATO's unity had not crumbled despite comments made by French President Macron or U.S. President Joe Biden.

"What I'm really happy about is that NATO allies have been very united in this stance and [have] not given an inch to Russia," she told Sky News while talking about the demands Russia has made to roll back NATO troops on the eastern flank.

"Russia has created this situation and now offers to solve this situation and we must not fall into that trap," Kallas said. "Russia is escalating and this is not done by NATO and the west."

In recent months, Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops on its border with eastern Ukraine, leading some experts to believe a further invasion is likely in the coming weeks.

The U.K. and U.S. are discussing sending more forces to the region.  Denmark has already sent a frigate with a crew of 160 to the Baltic Sea and four additional fighter jets to Lithuania.

Latvian FM: It is time to increase presence of allied forces

Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics echoed Kallas' call on Monday, writing on social media that it is time for NATO to increase its presence in the region.

"We are reaching the point where continuous Russian and Belarusian military buildup in Europe needs to be addressed by appropriate NATO countermeasures. It is time to increase allied forces presence in the Alliance's Eastern flank both as measures of defense and deterrence," he wrote.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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