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Baltics call for permanent NATO presence amid Ukraine crisis

  • 2014-07-07
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The U.S. should install a permanent military presence in the Baltics amid the Ukraine crisis, Latvian Minister of defense Raimonds Vejonis has said. 

Vejonis, who is on a visit to the U.S, told members of the U.S. National Security Council that Latvian society is concerned about the security consequences  following the annexation of Crimea and the current unrest.

"Russia's aggressive and unlawful action has changed the strategic balance in the region, therefore, it is important for the Baltic States that the allied forces' presence, especially that of land units, be permanent in this region," Vejonis 

He also expressed gratitude for the 173th U.S. paratroopers brigade in Latvia, which is a positive development, as it has improved cooperation between Latvia and the United States and helped the populace understand the importance of NATO's presence in the region.

During his visit in the United States, Vejonis discussed the situation in Ukraine and challenges concerning security in the Baltic region. Vejonis informed U.S. officials about Russia's military activities near the Baltic States' borders and the influence of Ukrainian crisis on the security situation in the Baltic region.

The U.S. officials, on the other hand, highly praised Saeima's state defense funding law, indicating that it is ready to offer help to Latvia in return for Latvia's cooperation and fulfillment of its commitments, the Defense Ministry reports.