RIGA - Heads of state and government from Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) partner nations at a meeting in Riga on Monday reached an agreement on further assistance to Ukraine and closer defense cooperation.
The meeting of JEF heads of state and government as well as defense ministers from the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Sweden focused on the security situation in the region, including Russia's growing military activity in the Arctic, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea region and hybrid threats. Participants of the meeting affirmed the JEF's unique role as a NATO-supplementing format, responding to challenges and taking care of security and stability in Northern Europe, LETA was told at the State Chancellery.
Upon hearing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's address on the situation in Ukraine, the JEF leaders agreed to continue providing assistance of all kinds to Ukraine and denounced Russia's brutal war against the neighbor country and attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure aimed at terrorizing civilians.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the JEF leaders commit to providing further political, military, humanitarian and economic support to Ukraine as long as necessary. Ukraine's victory is essential for the security of us all. We denounce Russia's attacks on critical national infrastructure which have been staged to terrorize Ukraine's residents, the JEF leaders said in the statement.
They also welcomed Zelensky's readiness to achieve just peace and agree that peace talks are not possible while Russia continues its war of aggression. The politicians therefore urge Russia to cease hostilities, withdraw its forces, comply with its international obligations and restore peace and security in Europe.
According to the JEF leaders' statement, over the past year, the member states have enhanced their ability to cooperate in emergencies and confirmed readiness to continue developing and testing JEF capabilities in joint military training exercises in the region, including the JEF Warrior drills scheduled in 2023 in the Arctic.
At the JEF Riga summit an agreement was reached on closer cooperation in the prevention of hybrid threats to the member states' underwater and energy infrastructure. This will involve an enhanced exchange of intelligence, cooperation with the sector and multinational partners to bolster resilience and improve collective response abilities.
At the meeting, the JEF leaders discussed the JEF's role in complementing NATO's military capabilities in the region and agreed to task experts with drawing up the JEF's ten-year development vision by the next meeting in 2023.
As reported, Riga hosted the third summit of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) on Monday.