A Washington Post proposal said about 20,000 troops would be deployed in any one of the three countries in the event of a threat.
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are actively seeking an increased NATO presence in Eastern Europe amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing a joint proposal from the three countries obtained by media outlets. A division-sized force of about 20,000 troops should be on standby and quickly deployed to any country if a threat arises, according to the Washington Post.
The Baltic states cited a potential threat from Moscow as the reason for the buildup. “Russia can quickly build up military forces against NATO’s eastern border and confront the alliance through a short war and the impossible,” he said. The document says, adds Russia’s direct military aggression against NATO allies cannot be ruled out.
The proposal involves increasing the presence of military blocs in each of the three countries to 6,000 troops, with 2,000 troops already stationed in Ukraine before the start of the Russian military operation in February. Including thousands of additional troops “Enabler” The units that will provide air defense and other types of protection need to be ready elsewhere to help countries in case of crisis.
Each of the Baltic states will also have NATO military equipment for a full 20,000-strong troop deployment if the military bloc approves the plan.
The Washington Post reports that other NATO members appear divided over the proposal to increase military deployments. While naming Poland among those who support the idea, the outlet adds that Western European countries, such as France and Italy, are skeptical of the so-called Russian threat. The issue was on the agenda of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin over the weekend, and diplomats have so far agreed to discuss it further.
Poland is already hosting 10,000 U.S. troops, up from 4,500 before the Russian invasion began. The United States has also increased its presence in Europe from 60,000 to 100,000 troops in response to Moscow’s move. However, many of these troops’ temporary barracks are unsuitable for long-term deployment, the paper reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that European countries must work with both Russia and Ukraine once the conflict is over. “We have a peace to build tomorrow,” Macron told reporters last week, adding later “We are not at war with Russia.”
Other Western European countries believe that NATO’s increased presence on the eastern front will draw attention away from other threats, such as terrorism or illegal immigration, which is a stressful issue for countries such as Italy and Spain.
“We do not see that the war in Ukraine is something that will need to be reversed in Russia’s defense and resistance.” A Western European official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post.
According to media outlets, some Eastern European countries are also asking NATO to formally withdraw from the military bloc and Russia’s 1997 establishment law, which limits permanent NATO deployments before Germany. Its allies in the United States and Western Europe are wary of this notion because they argue that it is still an effective framework for possible dialogue between Moscow and the military bloc.
The Baltic states and Poland believe they should act quickly because support for their aspirations for military deployment could be significantly reduced once the conflict in Ukraine ends.
“Many of our partners in Western Europe will be keen to return to the status quo once this is over. Some of the announcements and common sense that we see now may disappear. An official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity.
“We don’t like it because we believe we’ve seen a tectonic change.” The attitude of other NATO countries towards the security of the military bloc, officials added.
The Washington Post reports that a decision on the proposal is expected to be made at a NATO conference in Madrid in late June. The meeting will see the states take a preliminary decision on the membership bids of Finland and Sweden.