Center for Security and Strategic Research at the Latvian National Defense Academy expert Nora Vanaga believes that the Baltics can help deter perceived Russian aggression in the region by strengthening their defense capability and integrating further with rotating NATO units. Such enhanced capabilities would raise the cost of any Russian invasion.
Latvia’s Foreign and Security Policy 2017, written for the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, admits that the Baltic region, nor NATO, has the force structure in place to defeat any Russian military action against them. The report also stated that NATO does not have the political will to permanently station forces in the Baltics.
She emphasized that work must be done to integrate these forces into the Latvian armed forces, at least when reacting to possible crisis scenarios. Vanaga explained that it is also important for the Defense Ministry to constantly communicate with the public why the battalion is being deployed to Latvia and its objective, so not to allow Russian propaganda to write such headlines as ”Latvia is occupied by foreign troops” or ”presence of NATO forces provoking Russia,” reports the Baltic Times.
“Thus, the only way to strengthen NATO’s deterrence policy towards Russia is to help the Baltics develop their defense capabilities, and thus making in more costly for Russia if it indeed decided to act aggressively in the region,” Vanaga believes.