RIGA - NATO will be ready to defend the territory of each of its member states from the first centimeter and from the first minute, the new Latvian Ambassador to NATO Maris Riekstins told LETA.
Presenting the priorities of his work, the Ambassador noted that at the time of the conclusion of the regular meeting of NATO leaders in Vilnius, the most important tasks are related to the implementation of the decisions taken at the meeting.
"The main task is to further develop an effective deterrence and defense policy with the aim that NATO is ready to defend the territory of each of its Member States "from the first centimeter and from the first minute", Riekstins said.
For Latvia and the Baltic region, the Ambassador stressed, this means working to further strengthen and increase the presence of Allied forces in the region, further developing integrated air and missile defense capabilities.
According to Riekstins, the decisions taken on the new regional defense plans, Canada's announcement to deploy an additional 1,200 Canadian troops in the coming years, the deployment of additional weapons to strengthen defense capabilities, as well as Finland's and soon Sweden's NATO membership, are significant events when looking at the overall security of the Baltic region.
"Latvia, for its part, will continue to be a responsible and supportive member of NATO's common interests. We will demonstrate this by our contribution to the missile and air defense system, the establishment of the Selija military base and training ground, as well as other measures to ensure a suitable environment for NATO allied forces in Latvia," the Ambassador said.
He also underlined that these are measures to strengthen NATO's defense capabilities at a time when the overall security situation on the European continent has become more complex. This is due to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, as well as Russia's overall aggressive policy over the past years - posing a major threat to Euro-Atlantic security.
"The responsibility for the escalation of the situation lies squarely on Russia's shoulders. The NATO alliance's task in these circumstances is to take care of the security of its member states and its residents," Riekstins said.