Today, 21 December 2021, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Estonia, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, the Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania had a Ministerial Committee (MC) meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Subsequently, ministers condemned Russia’s attempts to establish spheres of influence in Europe and deny sovereign countries’ right to determine their own future. Any decision on possible dialogue with Russia cannot be based on Russia’s demands or preconditions. European and especially Baltic security has gravely suffered from such agreements and ultimatums in the past.
The Baltic States express the greatest concern over ongoing Russia’s concentration of military forces around the border with Ukraine, and Russia’s continuous attempts to limit Ukraine’s sovereignty by claiming spheres of influence in Eastern Europe as well as claiming the right to put the restrictions on Ukraine’s NATO membership. Ministers condemned Russia’s claims as Russia has no veto on the decisions of sovereign states.
Ministers reiterated the unwavering support to national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and called on Russian Federation to start respecting international law by ending its illegal occupation of Crimea as well as terminating the military support to Luhansk and Donetsk separatists regions.
It was highlighted that Baltic States, in response to the deteriorating security situation in the region amid the ongoing hybrid attack by the Belarusian regime and Russia’s hostile military activities on the borders of Ukraine, are raising their readiness and national planning activities are being conducted to respond to any escalation.
Ministers reaffirmed full dedication and commitment to close Baltic cooperation in security and defence in order to strengthen the security of NATO’s Eastern flank. Defence ministers also pledged to further strengthen Baltic defence cooperation in capability development to ensure interoperability and cost-effective use of resources dedicated to defence.
Ministers highlighted the importance of speedy mutually supportive military activities in ensuring security of our region and agreed to develop a trilateral legal framework to enable rapid cross-border employment during peace time and crisis. They also agreed on MLRS development ambition.
Furthermore, ministers highlighted the importance of the continued and strengthened Allied military presence in Baltic States as an integral part of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture in the region and commended Allies for their continued contribution to the enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups and the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission in demonstrating solidarity and unity.
The ministers themselves reaffirmed the commitment of Baltic States to strengthen international security through contributing to international missions and operations.
Full text of the Joint communique (PDF)