RIGA - NATO is strengthening its eastern flank in Latvia already now, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said Tuesday, thanking Canada and Spain for increasing the number of their troops in NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group.
In Karins' words, the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine has united NATO allies and that the arrival of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Adazi military base near Riga was proof of that.
"Latvia is a comparatively small country, but we are a part of the world's largest and strongest military alliance, in which standing shoulder to shoulder, we are invincible. Let me remind you that Latvia is not just a consumer of collective security - we invest and will continue to invest in our country's defense, strengthening also the defense capabilities of the whole Alliance," said Karins.
The prime minister indicated that Latvia is currently spending 2 percent of GDP on defense and that recently the government decided to increase Latvia's defense budget to 2.5 percent of GDP in the next three years.
Karins underlined that NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group and the US soldiers deployed in Latvia a very significant contribution to Latvia's defense capabilities, which the NATO chief and the prime ministers of Canada and Spain could see as they inspected a military exercise at the Adazi training area.