Command elements of new NATO brigade could be deployed in Latvia this summer - Murniece

  • 2023-04-26
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Until the NATO summit in Vilnius, planned for the beginning of July, the command elements of the new NATO brigade could be deployed in Latvia, Defense Minister Inara Murniece (National Alliance) said in an interview with Latvian Television last night.

She emphasized that the new NATO defense concept to protect NATO territory "from the first minute and from the first centimeter of an invasion" is "on the table" for the decision makers and plans are being developed for its implementation. This indicates a significant turning point in NATO's thinking.

The politician, however, did not name specific deadlines, when and how the introduction of the new concept will be implemented. She expressed that the capabilities are currently being generated to implement this defense concept.

Murniece pointed out that there are plans in Latvia to create a combat-capable brigade under the leadership of Canada, and intensive cooperation with the Canadians is underway to realize this goal. Murniece plans to go to Canada soon to discuss in detail with the officials of this country how and in what time frame this goal could be achieved.

She expressed her hope that by the time of the NATO summit in Vilnius, the command elements of this brigade could be deployed in Latvia and there could be clarity about the progress towards achieving this goal. Murniece did not reveal specific terms when these goals could be implemented.

The minister also pointed out that Latvia itself has much homework to complete to achieve the goals of the new NATO defense concept, pointing to the establishment of the National Defense Service, the implementation of the coastal defense system and the establishment of a training grounds in Selija region.

According to Murniece, young people's interest in applying to the National Defense Service has increased. Currently, around 200 applications have been received for the first conscription, which is taking place voluntarily this summer. She indicated that if more than the planned 300 young people apply, opportunities will be sought to admit more people who want to join the service. In general, an opportunity could be found to allow up to 400 young people to serve, said the minister.

As reported, in response to Russia's repeated invasion of Ukraine and war crimes committed in this country, NATO has decided to change its defense concept and is now committed to defending "every inch" of its territory from day one, The New York Times reports.

Previously, the alliance's strategy was deterrence by threatening retaliation. In the past, the theory was that if the Russians invaded, member states would try to hold on until allied forces, mainly American and based at home, could come to their aid and retaliate against the Russians to try to push them back.

Now, NATO is rapidly moving from what the military calls deterrence by retaliation to deterrence by denial. Among other things, to deter by denial, means more troops based permanently along the Russian border, more integration of American and allied war plans, more military spending and more detailed requirements for allies to have specific kinds of forces and equipment to fight, if necessary, in pre-assigned places.