Yesterday at the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels, the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture and common funding were discussed. The central topics of the meeting were Russia’s war against Ukraine and preparations for the Madrid Summit.
“Russia’s goals for Europe are unambiguously clear. We cannot rule out a Russian attack on NATO allies, which is why we, as NATO member countries, must be prepared. Only credible deterrence will ensure security, and for this a stronger defence posture is needed at NATO’s eastern flank,” said Minister of Defence Kalle Laanet.
The Baltic States have put forward a concrete joint proposal for a strengthened defence posture. “Our proposal is that a command unit and additional capabilities could be permanently present in each of the Baltic States. This would ensure, if necessary, the command of a division-sized force and the interoperability on land, in the air and at sea. In addition, pre-positioned weapons and equipment should be in place for any potential reinforcement units coming to Estonia. From the Madrid Summit, we hope for clear decisions that will lead towards achieving this,” Laanet explained.
The defence ministers also discussed increasing NATO common funding and burden sharing among member countries. “Despite the various crises, it is necessary for each NATO member country to contribute 2% of their budget to national defence – this must be the minimum base level, which Estonia has already exceeded, and by 2024 it will be 2.6%. Common funding needs to be raised in order for us to solve the challenges presented by the changed security situation – in the case of Estonia, this would mean, for example, increasing our capacity as a host nation,” Laanet added.
On the first day of the meeting, military assistance to Ukraine was discussed in the format convened by the US. “There was unity around the table among the nearly 50 participating countries – Ukraine must be supported in every way possible so that it can restore its territorial integrity. It was good to hear about the new aid deliveries to Ukraine. Military assistance in the form of weapons and ammunition must be swift and consistent. This is crucial for the final outcome of the war,” Laanet added.
Defence Minister Laanet also met bilaterally with German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht to thank Germany for its leadership in strengthening NATO’s eastern flank. In addition, an introductory meeting was held with the new Minister of Defence of France Sebastien Lecornu, where Minister Laanet introduced the views of the reinforced defence posture from the point of view of the eastern flank and thanked him for the stable presence of French units in Estonia.
On Friday, the ministers of defence of the three Baltic States met with U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin to discuss regional defence.
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