“We thoroughly discussed the expectations for the forthcoming NATO summit with our Baltic colleagues. We believe that NATO needs to send a clear and strong message about the Russian threat and make collective defence the most important task of the Alliance in the next decade,” said Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet.
“The threat picture has become more complicated due to Russia’s unpredictable and opportunistic behaviour. The recent concentration of Russian forces and armaments on the borders of Crimea and Ukraine is a prime example of this. During the large-scale Russian training exercise Zapad-2021, set to take place in August and September, we must be at a heightened state of readiness,” the Minister of Defence added.
The ministers of defence agreed that the Baltic States must continue to support Ukraine both politically and through practical activities, including contributing to the development of Ukraine’s independent defensive capabilities. Estonia has had close practical cooperation with Ukraine for many years, however we are looking for opportunities for further development. According to Minister of Defence Laanet, it was jointly stated that by acting together, the three Baltic States could further expand today’s support activities to Ukraine.
Laanet, Pabriks and Anusauskas noted that air defence cooperation between the three Baltic States remains important and that in order to strengthen and further develop it, it is necessary to conduct more air defence exercises in the region together with NATO allies.
“I have previously emphasised that co-operation in the field of capability development between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has a great deal of potential and an extremely important role in strengthening security in the region. The development of strategically important capabilities is resource-intensive, which is why we need to think carefully about how to ensure the most efficient realisation of limited resources. Therefore, we decided today to start a more detailed analysis and preparatory work for the joint procurement of a multiple launch rocket system,” said Kalle Laanet.
Today, the ministers of defence also signed a joint communiqué emphasising – in light of the current security situation – the importance of the sustainable development of defence capabilities and ensuring deterrence, the importance of transatlantic relations, and the need for the presence of Allied NATO forces in the Baltic States among other things.
Lithuania is presiding over Baltic Defence Cooperation in 2021, having set co-operation in capability development with the Baltic States and their allies as a priority of its presidency.
Joint Communiqué of the Ministers of Defence: https://kaitseministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/2021_05_21_3b_km_yhiskommunikee.pdf (PDF)
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