United States military personnel are to be redeployed to the Baltic States from elsewhere in Europe, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, in the wake of a deteriorating defense and security situation which has seen Russian Federation troops crossing the border into Ukraine.
Biden made the announcement in a speech in which he added that the move was a defensive one, ERR reports.
"I say clearly, these are our defenses," the U.S. President said, adding that: "We have no intention of fighting Russia."
Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) added some detail to the whole in saying Estonia would receive more air defense, a deployment which Estonia had been lobbying for.
Laanet said that: "I thank all the people who have worked for it. They have made a very serious contribution to Estonia's security. We had our last meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Defense in Vilnius on Saturday, where we also talked about how the U.S. could boost our defense capabilities."
#Estonia welcomes @POTUS @JoeBiden decision to strengthen presence in #Estonia , #Latvia & #Lithuania . Deterrence is the key to address the current & new threats in Europe.#WeAreAllies #StongerTogether #WeAreNATO— Estonian MFA (@MFAestonia) February 22, 2022
A U.S. Department of Defense source also said an infantry battalion would be relocated from Italy to the Baltic States, as well as 20 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from Germany, plus another 12 being redeployed to Poland, from Greece.
Up to eight Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets would also be relocated from Germany to various locations on NATO's eastern flank, the source added.
The redeployment will send a message to U.S. allies that NATO was defending its territory and fulfilling its contractual obligations, Biden said.
The U.S. president also said he would be launching an initial tranche of sanctions against Russia, following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as "independent" states, an announcement followed by the violation of Ukraine's border in sending "peacekeeping" military personnel to the area.
America will be imposing sanctions on Russian financial institutions including Promsvyazbank and VEB banks, the ruling elite and their families, Biden added.
The U.K. too has announced further sanctions on Russia, also including Promsvyazbank and three high net-worth individuals.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said Tuesday that the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany, whose pipeline is routed underneath the Baltic Sea, cannot go ahead now in the current situation, a development Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has welcomed.
Continuing quick-fire consultations to coordinate our quick and joint reaction to #Russia's outright escalation against #Ukraine. Spoke with PM @MorawieckiM - we are working towards a firm and united response now.— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) February 22, 2022
The EU also agreed to a sanctions package late on Tuesday.
I welcome the EU countries' agreement on new sanctions against Russia.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 22, 2022
Russia has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation.
We will now quickly finalise the sanctions package, in coordination with our partners. https://t.co/k7E8pSZbfH
Editor: Andrew Whyte