Image by Cpl Timothy Jones/MOD
British troops exercise in Estonia as part of the NATO’s eFP (Enhanced Forward Presence)
The Baltic nations have long been keen to forward deploy NATO forces in the region to counter perceived Russian aggression on their borders. The memory of annexation by the Soviet Union is still fresh in the minds of the population, especially in Estonia. This week the tiny country declared it is strengthening defense cooperation with the United Kingdom.
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The secretary general of the Estonian Defense Ministry, Kristjan Prikk, said in a meeting with the vice chief of the Defense Staff of the U.K., Gen. Gordon Kenneth Messenger, that Estonia wishes to strengthen defense cooperation with the U.K. in the Baltic region.
During the meeting that took place on Wednesday, Prikk described defense cooperation between Estonia and the U.K. as intense and fruitful, reported The Baltic Times.
“We attach high value to Britain’s contribution to strengthening deterrence in our region and thereby also the deterrence of NATO,” said Prikk.
“It is Estonia’s interest that training exercises of the Joint Expeditionary Force were connected with the security challenges of the Baltic Sea region also in the future,” Prikk said. “Training together ensures effective response in the event of a crisis,” he added.
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Prikk and Messenger concurred that NATO must continue enhancing its response and reinforcement capability and readiness. In this connection matters related to the establishment of the headquarters of the NATO Multinational Division North and deepening of cooperation in cyber defense were discussed.
In neighboring Poland, the conservative government of the PiS has offered to spend up to $2 billion in order to construct a new base for American military forces on the Russian border. The Polish foreign minister suggested to sweeten the deal by calling the facility ‘Fort Trump’.