NATO to strengthen Baltic region defense with air, naval forces
NATO's next planned steps will be to strengthen the NATO battle groups stationed in the Baltic states and Poland with air force and naval elements, according to NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) Gen. Sir James Everard said in Estonia on Wednesday.
"The NATO army units have integrated very well and quickly here, but we must reinforce them with air force and naval elements," Everard said according to an Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) press release. "This is our next challenge both in the Baltics and Poland."
According to Everard, cooperation between army and air forces in particular is extremely important, and this would allow for the further improvement of the deterrence and defense capabilities of the battle groups stationed in the region. He also noted that the visit of British fighter jets to Estonia in late August will not be their last, and that plans for further such cooperation exercises with the NATO battle group stationed here are in the works.
"The best part for me was that we and our Estonian colleagues were all in agreement regarding what needs to be done next," Everard said. "I am satisfied with the progress thus far, but there is a lot more to be done."
On a two-day visit to Estonia, Gen. Sir James Everard met with Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence Jonatan Vseviov and Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras, visited Ämari Air Base and laid a wreath at the War of Independence Victory Column in Tallinn.
Everard was also given an overview of the regional security situation, the activities of the British-led NATO battle group stationed in Estonia and the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad.
Editor: Aili Vahtla