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Baltic and Polish Defence Ministers agreed on joint response to deter Russia
On 11–12 December the Baltic and Polish Defence Ministers at a meeting in in Cesis (Latvia) agreed on joint response to deter Russia in the region.
“Baltic States and Poland are facing the same threats, therefore it is crucial to coordinate our response. Let us work with one accord so that Russia knows that its venture to put the principles of NATO collective defence to test might bring about heavy effect,” Minister J. Olekas said at the meeting.
Minister J. Olekas invited his counterparts to stay united in their efforts to implement the decisions of the Wales Summit emphasising the persistent NATO military presence in the region, establishment of NATO Command and Control Elements, and prepositioning of equipment and supplies in the Baltic States and Poland.
The Ministers agreed that the Wales‘ decisions should be put into practice before the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016.
Minister J.Olekas also invited his Polish and Baltic counterparts to follow Lithuania’s example and consider rendering military assistance to Ukraine. “That would be a demonstration of our solidarity with Ukraine in its fight against the Russian aggression for its freedom and independence,” Minister J.Olekas said.
J. Olekas also proposed the Baltic States and Poland to coordinate their efforts in assisting Ukraine in the reform of its armed forces and pointed out the project of the joint Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian Brigade (LITPOULUKRBAT) aimed at increasing the interoperability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with NATO as an example.
At the meeting the Baltic Defence Ministers endorsed the guidelines for coordination of the Baltic States’ operational planning. The joint Baltic States' Defence Staff Element will be tasked with drafting specific contingency plans for the Baltic States.
The Baltic Defence Ministers’ meeting of December 11-12 was also attended by the Chiefs of Defence and the chiefs of intelligence, and Defence Policy Directors of the Baltic States.
Photo credit - Gatis Dieziņš (Latvian MoD)