Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) and his Baltic counterparts met with Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Tuesday to discuss the security situation in Europe and Russia's activities there and in the U.S., among other issues.
"Russia's breaching of the accepted principles of international law and ignoring its obligations demands the reinforcement of deterrence measures not only in the Baltic States but in NATO as a whole," Mikser said according to a ministry press release. "We've always agreed with the U.S. that allies in Europe also need to boost their defense spending, which is something we'll definitely be discussing at the NATO summit in Brussels in July."
According to Mikser, both the EU and the U.S. must be prepared to prevent threats emerging from Russia. "Hybrid threats and hostile propaganda are nothing we haven't seen before in the Baltic states, but Russia's now waging its information war on a significantly broader front," he noted. "It's important that society as a whole is aware of these threats and knows how to identify misleading information."
He added that people need to be aware of Russian activities designed to create divisions in society and generate distrust in democratic institutions, referring to Russian interference in European and American elections.
Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee thanked the Baltic states for their contributions to the war on terror, and Mikser in turn confirmed Estonia's resolve on this front. "In fighting terrorist groups, long-lasting success is only achieved via close cooperation between countries," he said. "Estonia is prepared to maintain its active involvement in the work of the anti-Daesh coalition."
The foreign ministers of the Baltic states also met with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, with whom they discussed trade releations between the E.U. and US, the continuation of sanctions implemented against Russia, as well as matters related to hybrid threats.
Editor: Aili Vahtla