At the meeting of the three defence ministers of the Baltic States, held 16 and 17 May in Latvia, defence ministers Hanno Pevkur, Ināra Mūrniece, and Arvydas Anušauskas discussed issues related to the NATO Vilnius Summit, assistance to Ukraine, air security, and Baltic training areas.
According to Minister of Defence Pevkur, the Baltic States share similar goals heading into the NATO summit in July. “The Baltic States expect strong messages from Vilnius, in particular regarding the implementation of the decisions taken at the Madrid Summit and the renewal of regional defence plans, which would be used to implement NATO’s reinforced defence posture. Second, we are waiting for a strong political signal on Ukraine’s path towards NATO. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have made strong contributions of military aid to Ukraine, and we will continue to do so for as long as needed,” Pevkur added.
“In addition, we expect a tangible result from Vilnius on strengthening NATO air defence in the Baltic States, which in our view could work in a similar way to the Baltic Air Policing mission – on a rotational basis,” explained Minister of Defence Pevkur.
During the meeting, the defence ministers were given an overview of the development of training areas in the Baltic States. “The war in Ukraine, new capacity building projects and the increase in the size of the defence forces, as well as the increased presence of our allies, have resulted in the overloading of existing training areas across the Baltic States, which is why Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are now working on expanding existing areas as well as developing new ones. We are seeking opportunities for joint training projects, but, first and foremost, all three countries need to develop their national training grounds,” said the Minister of Defence.
The defence ministers also discussed issues related to Baltic cross-border defence cooperation and the Baltic Defence College, and visited the Lielvārde Military Air Base.
Additional information: [email protected]
Photos: Ministry of Defence | Flickr