Baltics can rely on U.S. help

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PHOTO: The Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia

President Trump does not see red warning lights when looking at the Baltics that lie on NATO’s eastern flank, right next to the Russian border, President Kersti Kaljulaid, who met with Trump together with her Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues in April 2018, told Postimees.

Kaljulaid expressed her satisfaction over the meeting with Trump when she said, both in the White House and in following interviews, how important Estonia’s contribution to its security is, which is something Trump praised her for in his characteristically exuberant style. The Baltic countries serve as examples for states expected to meet the 2 percent of GDP requirement, Trump stressed on numerous occasions.

“It is actually somewhat regrettable we are lumped together with Latvia and Lithuania when it comes to 2 percent defense spending,” said Commander of the Defense Forces Gen. Riho Terras who is also visiting Washington. “We have been honoring the commitment since 2011, while Latvia and Lithuania only caught up later,” Terras explained. He added that our defensive will also motivates the USA to support us.

Terras said that he has met with heads of all branches of U.S. armed forces and all have confirmed their units are standing by in case help is needed urgently.

Kaljulaid expressed her satisfaction over the meeting with Trump when she said, both in the White House and in following interviews, how important Estonia’s contribution to its security is, which is something Trump praised her for in his characteristically exuberant style. The Baltic countries serve as examples for states expected to meet the 2 percent of GDP requirement, Trump stressed on numerous occasions.

“It is actually somewhat regrettable we are lumped together with Latvia and Lithuania when it comes to 2 percent defense spending,” said Commander of the Defense Forces Gen. Riho Terras who is also visiting Washington. “We have been honoring the commitment since 2011, while Latvia and Lithuania only caught up later,” Terras explained. He added that our defensive will also motivates the USA to support us.

Terras said that he has met with heads of all branches of U.S. armed forces and all have confirmed their units are standing by in case help is needed urgently.

Some analysts are convinced that U.S. presence is currently too modest and that more troops should be stationed in the region to stop the enemy from simply overrunning the allies in the Baltics in case of a potential attack. Stars and Stripes reports other analysts as saying that boosting presence is pointless considering Russia’s immense geographical advantage in the region.

An analysis by the Carnegie think tank from late March proposes the USA station an additional battalion in the Baltics (the current allied battalion battle group is 1,200 strong – ed.) to be divided up between the three countries. At the same time, Carnegie warns that stationing anything over a battalion in the region would constitute excessive provocation of Russia.

Even thugh nothing specific was decided in terms of number of troops and weapons at the Washington summit, the White House pledged a total of 170 million dollars (€138 million) in military aid to the three countries. Stars and Stripes wrote that it was still unclear whether such a present would be made to Baltic presidents on the morning of the meeting.

THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA

JÄTA KOMMENTAAR

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