VILNIUS - The Baltic countries have emphasized the importance of continued military presence of the allies in the region.
In the run-up to the NATO summit, the prime ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Monday issued a joint statement stating that the NATO summit would be “a crucial moment for the allies to reiterate NATO’s unity and strengthen the transatlantic bond”.
The statement also highlighted the importance of continued military presence of the allies in the Baltic States and the need to further strengthen Baltic defense cooperation.
The prime ministers of the three countries reaffirmed the commitment to a strong NATO-EU strategic partnership and to NATO’s open door policy.
The joint statement issued in the run-up to the NATO summit due in Brussels on June 14 was signed by Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte and her Latvian and Estonian counterparts Krisjanis Karins and Kaja Kallas.
“We expect the summit to give a clear and strong assessment on the threat posed by Russia and further adapt NATO’s response. Russia seeks to destabilize NATO and undermine the security of NATO allies and partners,” the document said.
The joint statement also emphasized that “Russia’s military posture, its conventional and nuclear capabilities threaten the Euro-Atlantic security”.
“Russia also systematically engages in carrying out illegal operations on Alliance territory, in malign and dangerous cyber activities, disseminating disinformation, interfering in elections, and exploiting divisions within democratic societies,” the Baltic prime ministers said.
Government leaders of the three countries expressed hope that during the upcoming summit the allies would “commit to strengthening and modernizing NATO’s Force Structure, to meet the collective defense requirements to respond to any crisis and conflict”.
The Baltic countries, in their turn, reiterated their commitment to increase defense spending and allocate at least 2 percent of GDP for defense.