On May 28, at the Baltic Defence Ministers meeting in Panevėžys, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, Minister of Defence of Estonia Sven Mikser and Minister of Defence of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis highlighted the need of decisive action regarding the development of critical defence capabilities necessary for the Baltic States’ defence in light of increased threats.
The Ministers agreed to consult with such strategic allies as the United States of America or Poland and have draft plans for the possible development of mid-range air defence system produced by this autumn.
Following the working session Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Defence Ministers, as the Ministerial Committee, signed a Joint Communique.
After the signature Minister Juozas Olekas maintained that the increased security threat is a push to step up Baltic security and defence cooperation. “Regional defence cooperation of the Baltic States is more critical than ever, our security assurance is our solidarity,” Minister J.Olekas said. The Ministers also agreed to enhance cooperation with Poland, Baltic States’ neighbour and strategic Ally in NATO, assuring a unanimous response to possible threats.
The Joint Communique reaffirms the Baltic States’ commitment to continue providing substantial Host Nation Support for allied troops. The Ministers underscored the possibility of joint military training in the region that would contribute to better training conditions provided for allied rotating forces too.
The meeting Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Defence Ministers agreed to improve mutual coordination among the search and rescue systems of the Baltic States aiming to ensure timely and concerted actions and support in emergency cases in any Baltic States.
With regard to the upcoming NATO Defence Ministers meeting the Baltic Defence Ministers agreed to seek the implementation of the NATO agreement on the existing and further measures of deterrence in the region. “It is crucial to ensure additional allied presence and to seek prepositioning of equipment in the Baltic States which would allow NATO forces to respond to any threat in the region more quickly,” Minister J.Olekas said.
The Ministers welcomed the progress in establishing NATO Force Integration Units which expressed NATO’s commitment and ensured NATO presence in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Minister of Defence of Ukraine Colonel General Stepan Poltorak was invited to attend a separate session with the Baltic Defence Ministers. At this session the Ministers underscored that the Baltic States were ready to continue rendering assistance to Ukraine for the development of its armed forces and the reform of its defence sector.