Open letter urges permanent NATO troops in Baltics ahead of Obama visit

  • 2014-09-02
  • From wire reports, RIGA

(photo: twitter)

One hundred public figures from the Baltics have urged U.S. President Barack Obama to place permanent NATO troops in the Baltics ahead of visit to Estonia on September 3.

Obama is set  meet with the heads of states from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The crunch meeting comes a day before  a major NATO summit in Wales on September 4-5.

Baltic officials have urged NATO to consider placing permanent troops in what they see as a threat from Russia amid the crisis in the Ukraine.

The White House said Obama would reaffirm 'unwavering commitment' for NATO's eastern allies during his visit in the country.

Now, an open letter signed by members of the supreme councils in the Baltics urged stronger defense for the region amid the crisis in the Ukraine.

"Not far from our borders, the sovereign state of Ukraine has seen its territories occupied, its armed forces attacked and its peaceful civilians killed. All this is happening because Ukraine has asserted its right to follow the same path which the Baltic states marked out in the Baltic Way, and the global community is watching in silence while Russia is breaking international agreements," the letter states.

The letter adds: "Twenty-five years ago, the Baltic States freed themselves from occupation. Today, they are on the front lines in the struggle for the future of Europe. Russia’s overt neo-imperialism cannot but makes us fear that we are potential objects of its expansionist dreams.

"Faced with a threat of aggression, we are calling on you to ensure the permanent presence of troops from allied countries on our territory. The safety and freedom of all of Europe depend on it.

Russian Foreign Minister called for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine amid clashes between Ukrainian and pro Russian rebels. Russia has denied Western claims it has sent troops in to the Ukraine despite a NATO satellite image allegedly showing the contrary.

On Monday, NATO said it would install a rapid response force in its eastern member states in order to respond more effectively to a potential attack.