Baltic States request expanding NATO’s battalion
Baltic States plan to request expanding international NATO battalion with air and naval forces, as confirmed by Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Lino Linkevičiaus, who met with US President’s National Security Advisor John R. Bolton in Washington alongside his Latvian and Estonian colleagues.
«Currently we have increased presence of armed forces. It is limited, but an international contingent assists our security. This is not just about ground forces. We would like to see, at least in perspective, inclusion of naval and air forces,» he told BNS.
Preparing for the upcoming NATO summit in July, Baltic States ministers discussed with Bolton options to speed up decision-making processes in the alliance and forces’ relocation in member states, and asked paying more attention to Baltic States’ antiair defence.
«Speaking of particular weaknesses in our forces, it would be worth mentioning anti-air defence. We and our national are not enough to compensate that even though we have invested a lot of attention and resources for this. We hope for NATO’s and USA’s understanding in this field,» said Linkevičiaus.
Baltic States have no jet-fighters or land-based long range anti-air defences. Because of that, Baltic States have asked USA to send Patriot missile systems to ensure NATO’s Baltic air space patrolling mission converts into anti-air defence mission, allowing fighter-jets stationed in the Baltic region are able to perform combat missions.
According to the Lithuanian minister, Baltic States are interested in seeing numerically increased and more diverse presence of allied forces.