NATO to deploy anti-aircraft forces to alliance's eastern flank

A Finnish NASAMS battery (photo is illustrative).
A Finnish NASAMS battery (photo is illustrative). Source: RKIK

Friday at a meeting in Brussels, NATO defense ministers resolved to rotate air defense units to the alliance's eastern flank in order to bolster air defenses.

Additional air defense units with ground-to-air systems will be moving to the eastern flank of NATO, Defense Ministry's press release said.

"Estonia currently has Spanish NASAMS air defense systems under a bilateral agreement, and with the new model, we can begin planning the next rotations," Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said.

Ministers of Defense finalize decisions before the NATO summit

Alliance defense ministers discussed deterrence and defense on Friday, the second day of their meeting, in preparation for the Vilnius summit in mid-July.

"The main goal of the Vilnius Summit is to demonstrate that NATO has irreversibly adopted a more defensive plan and so the most important decision we anticipate from Vilnius is the approval of NATO's defense plans. Also, we received confirmation of another important decision in Brussels today: NATO has reached an agreement on air defense reinforcement, which entails the rotation of air defense units on NATO's eastern flank," Pevkur said in a press release.

Ministers of defense continued their discussion of regional defense plans, whose approval would signal a significant shift toward a more robust defense plans. 

"Because NATO plans, forces, and capabilities must ensure the protection of every centimeter of the Alliance's territory from the start of a conflict, NATO's Regional Defense Plans must be endorsed in Vilnius in order to jointly rehearse defenses against a Russian attack," the statement said.

Along with confirming defense plans, it is in Estonia's best interests to reach a more ambitious NATO defense spending agreement in Vilnius, which would allow for increased security in today's deteriorating security environment and in light of the majority of European nations' donation of arms and ammunition to Ukraine. Estonia plans to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense immediately and 2.5 percent on defense in the long run.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa

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