The presidents of Latvia and Lithuania took advantage of German Chancellor Olaf Solz’s visit to Vilnius today to call for an increased NATO presence in the Baltic states, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The NATO summit in Madrid later this month will decide whether to increase the number of Alliance troops in its eastern wing further as a result of a change in Europe’s security situation. Both Lithuanian President Gitana Nauseda and his Latvian counterpart Egils Levic called on the military alliance to deploy more troops to the region.
“The NATO summit in Madrid should be a decision-making session,” Nauseda told the dpa ahead of Solz’s visit, adding that Lithuania hoped to reach an agreement with its allies “to move beyond deterrence to active defense, from battalions to brigades, from aerial policing to air defense “.
Levic added that he hoped that Soltz’s visit would bring “concrete proposals” to strengthen defense on NATO’s east wing.
“We expect that Germany also has in mind the general security of NATO and therefore supports the enhanced NATO presence in the three Baltic countries,” the Latvian president said.
Solz is expected to hold talks with Nauseda and the prime ministers of the three Baltic states during his visit to the Lithuanian capital, where the issue of NATO’s eastern security will be at the top of the agenda, according to the chancellor’s office. .
Solz will then visit German troops stationed at the Rukla base in Lithuania, where the German army commands a NATO unit.
The NATO multinational unit there was reinforced with additional troops from Germany and Norway before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, bringing the total number of NATO troops from 1,600 to 1,200.
“We are grateful for their contribution to the security of our country and the whole region. We are ready to welcome more troops by offering them all the necessary support and infrastructure,” Naouseda said.
Lithuania borders the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad as well as Belarus, an ally of Moscow.
Along with Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Norway, Lithuania is one of five NATO countries that share a land border with Russia.