Baltics to ask Nato for thousands of troops
The Baltic states will formally ask Nato to deploy several thousand troops as a deterrent, Lithuania said yesterday, amid tensions with Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
"We are seeking a brigade-size unit so that every Baltic nation would have a battalion," military spokesman Captain Mindaugas Neimontas told AFP.
He said Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian generals would soon send a joint request to US General Philip Breedlove, Nato's top commander.
Neimontas said the Baltic states were to seek "permanent rotational Nato forces" as a "deterrence measure given the security situation in the region".
He refused to elaborate on specific numbers but a standard brigade could have around 3,000 troops.
Latvia's defence ministry also confirmed the move in a statement saying "the joint letter will be sent next week".
Baltic and Nordic countries have reported an uptick in Russian military activity in the region over the last year. Russian war planes flying with their transponders switched off have endangered civil aviation.
The Baltic republics were under Soviet rule from the end of World War II to 1991. They now fear Moscow could try to destabilise them to test NATO's commitment to collective defence.