The Ministers of Defense of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stated that improvement of relations between NATO and the Russian Federation in 2017 is unlikely, the ERR.ee portal reported. The representatives also agree that work will continue according to the OSCE Vienna document.
The ministers signed a traditional communiqué on cooperation, noting that next year will have strategic importance for the region because NATO military forces will be deployed there.
“The next year will be extremely important and those meetings, which we had, were very specific: how we will exchange information on a daily basis, what the communication will look like. We never had such strategically important communications at the international level before,” the Minister of Defense of Estonia, Margus Tsahkna, said. Latvia and Lithuania agreed to increase the defense budget to the minimum required NATO level of 2% of the GDP.
“Estonian defense expenditures will make 2.2% in the coming year. Moreover, there is a plan of defense investments, which is already approved by the government. Following the same example, Lithuania and Latvia will increase funding of defense sectors that will reach 2% from GDP in 2018 and, of course, it is a very important signal,” Tsahkna stated.