A strong NATO presence is required in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, according to Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas.
“We need NATO to provide a permanent military presence in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These forces may be subjected to a rotational schedule,” Rõivas said this in an interview with Die Welt newspaper, which was published on the 26th of May.
He stressed the need for the constant presence of these troops. “These troops should always be present to act as a deterrence,” Rõivas said. He also said that NATO “is heading in the right direction” with regard to their military expansion.
NATO had previously said that they plan to increase their military presence in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. They will deploy troops to these areas on a rotational basis. Decisions on this plan will be made at the July summit in Warsaw. It is expected that approximately 1,000 soldiers will be deployed to each country.
Russia has announced that three new military divisions will become available at the end of 2016. Two of these will be in the western military district and one will be in the southern military district. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, this is in response to the increase in NATO forces in the immediate proximity of Russia’s borders. According to the NATO-Russia act of 1997, the Alliance should refrain from permanently placing “substantial combat forces” in eastern Europe.