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Enhancement of defence measures in the Baltic region should be continued, Defence Policy Director of the Ministry of National Defence says


On June 27 Defence Policy Director of the Ministry of National Defence Dr. Vaidotas Urbelis underscored the necessity to continue enhancing security measures in the Baltic region at a meeting with Derek Chollet, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA), in Washington. “Deployment of NATO forces and augmented NATO’s Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States is an excellent demonstration of NATO solidarity in the context of the aggressive Russia’s policy. NATO measures have provided an adequate response to the current security situation, but NATO presence in the region should continue growing,” Dr. V.Urbelis said.


At the meeting, also attended by Estonian and Latvian Defence Policy Directors, all the three Baltic nations welcomed the U.S. decision to allocate USD 1 billion for additional security measures in the region.


The representatives of the Baltic States underlined that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were ready to invest additionally to ensure that hosting of contributed forces was appropriate. “Lithuania is taking numerous steps to ensure that NATO presence in the region is beneficial both for us and deployed forces of the U.S. and other allies,” V. Urbelis underscored.


The Baltic representatives announced that the host nation support to the participants of the Baltic Air Policing Mission was financed additionally, infrastructure of training ranges and other training facilities was enhanced, and modernisation of armed forces carried out.


In his turn, D. Chollet invited Lithuania and other Baltic States to fulfil their commitments to increase defence spending. He highlighted that the U.S. Congress would approve new security measures only when practical steps of the European allies are seen to increase defence budgets and to allocate at least 20 percent of those budgets for acquisition. The U.S. representative also praised Lithuania’s efforts to raise defence spending by 20 percent in 2014 and encouraged reaching the 2% of GDP limit by 2020.


The meeting also addressed the issues of assistance to Ukraine, regional cooperation and relations with Russia.


During the visit in the United States the Lithuanian MoD representatives and his Latvian and Estonian counterparts also met with advisors of influential U.S. congressmen and representatives of U.S. to whom the security situation in the region, Baltic response to the crisis in Ukraine and the situation in Afghanistan was presented.


Photo: (A. Pliadis, Lithuanian MoD): Defence Policy Director of the Ministry of National Defence V. Urbelis.

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