Baltic military leaders have prepared a joint letter to NATO Commander in Europe, US General Philip Breedlove, requesting that a permanent NATO brigade be stationed in the Baltic region.
Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 have fueled Baltic fears of possible similar action against the three NATO members, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia and Latvia have significant Russian minorities and Lithuania borders the Russian Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad.
Lithuanian Army spokesman, Mindaugas Neimontas told reporters on Thursday that “in reaction to the security situation in the region, as a measure of deterrence, chiefs of defense of the Baltic states will apply officially to Supreme NATO Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) about permanent stationing of a brigade-sized NATO unit in the Baltic States.”
Much like the Baltic air policing mission which is based in Siauliai, Lithuania, responsibility for manning of the requested brigade, with some 3,000-5,000 troops, would rotate among NATO member states.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at a NATO conference in Turkey that “when we receive the letter, we will go carefully through the letter and assess the different proposals.”