NATO chief tight-lipped on Baltic call for permanent brigade

Jens Stoltenberg

Speaking at a news conference in Turkey about the letter in preparation in the three Baltic states in this respect, the NATO chief stressed that the Alliance’s presence in the region had already been enhanced, adding he would only be able to comment on the request after seeing the letter.

“When we see the letter, we will carefully assess the specifics of it,” Stoltenberg said at the final news conference after the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Antalya.

Earlier on Thursday, spokesman for the Lithuanian Armed Forces confirmed that the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia would ask NATO leadership to deploy a permanent brigade.

A joint letter of the three Baltic chiefs of defence in this respect will be sent to Commander of the US European Command General Philip Breedlove, said Captain Mindaugas Neimontas, spokesman for the Lithuanian chief of defence. “We seek a brigade-sized unit to have a battalion in each of the Baltic states at all times,” he added.

A brigade-sized unit usually consists of 2,000-3,000 troops.

The three countries have been each hosting a company of US troops – about 150 – since last year. Other Allies are also sending their soldiers for exercises to the region, however, this is not done on a regular basis.

Some European countries, including Germany, are sceptical about the proposals to station permanent Allied bases in Eastern Europe, saying this would breach the 1997 agreement between Russia and the Alliance.

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