Baltic States re­quest ex­pand­ing NATO’s bat­tal­ion

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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.

Žy­gi­man­tas Gedvila/

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