NATO leaders decide to deploy battalions to Baltic States, Poland

  • 2016-07-09

NATO leaders decided in Warsaw on Friday to deploy a multinational battalion to each of the Baltic States and Poland.

"The NATO summit has approved the deployment of a 1,000-strong multinational allied battalion to each of the Baltic countries and Poland — led by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada," the Lithuanian president's press office announced in a press release.

The troops “demonstrate the strength of the transatlantic bond and they make clear that an attack on one ally would be considered an attack on the whole alliance," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Germany is set to head a battalion to be deployed to Lithuania and the Benelux countries, to which Norway and France will contribute troops. Canada will lead a battalion in Latvia, the UK in Estonia, and the US in Poland.

"We have everything we expected, discussed, and negotiated," Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters in Warsaw.

Grybauskaite stated that Germany will contribute the largest number of troops to the battalion, with other countries expected to send between 150 and 200 soldiers.

According to the president, Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri is ready to visit Lithuania for the opening of the battalion.

"We see tremendous support and understanding from NATO countries and their willingness to participate in defending our region and deterring potential aggressors," she said.

NATO leaders also passed measures to avoid possible military isolation of the Baltics and reached an agreement on modernising NATO defense plans to tailor them for real threat scenarios. A more accelerated decision-making mechanism will also be put in place, the press office stated.

Although details of the deployments have yet to be finalised, Canada is expected to send about 450 troops to the battalion to be deployed in Latvia. The battalion in Estonia will be made up of 500 British troops, up to 200 troops from Denmark and approximately 150 troops from France. The battalion in Lithuania will comprise about 500 soldiers from Germany, around 200 Belgian soldiers, 100 to 150 soldiers from the Netherlands, and about 150 soldiers from France. Norway and Luxembourg are also expected to contribute soldiers to Lithuania.