Defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) has heralded an agreement with his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts which will, when it enters into force, allow the three countries to maneuver both military forces and equipment rapidly between each nation's territory.
Laanet said Friday that: "Today, as a very important step forward, as we agreed on the approval of a Baltic cross-border defense cooperation agreement, which we decided to draft at the last meeting of the three Baltic defense ministers last December in Kaunas [Lithuania]."
Laanet hosted Artis Pabriks (Latvia) and Arvydas Anušauskas (Lithuania) at the meeting on Saaremaa, Estonia's largest island, and also noted how the past few months have further deepened unity among the three Baltic States, as evidenced by the in-depth discussions being held on Friday.
All three ministers signed the joint communiqué alongside the Kaali crater, a noted local landmark formed by a major meteorite impact in Estonia millennia ago.
Once the agreement enters into force, it will allow the rapid movement of forces and equipment over the Estonian-Latvian border and the Latvian-Lithuanian border both in peacetime and in crisis or conflict situations and in all possible operations or missions scenarios.
Minister Laanet added that: "This decision has very high practical value and it is a strong deterrent to any possible adversaries, since it sends the message that Baltic States will react to any threats in a unified and rapid manner," according to a defense ministry press release.
The two ministers also discussed mutual development of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) capabilities in cooperation with the U.S., the future vision of Baltic maritime forces, the security situation in the region, the current war in Ukraine, and the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.
Laanet stressed unity on security matters and the need to strengthen NATO's eastern flank – which includes all three countries' eastern borders – and the need to switch up from a deterrence posture to a defensive one, adding that NATO forces in the Baltic region is an inseparable part of that position.
Combined airspace matters and further development of the Baltic Defense College in Tartu, as well as a visit to to Saaremaa-based boatbuilders Baltic Workboats (BWB) were also on the itinerary.
Editor: Andrew Whyte