The leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia stated that the United States should not underestimate the threat posed by Russia
On Tuesday, President Donald trump takes the White house the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Baltic summit takes place amid rising tensions between the West and Russia. On the eve of the meeting the Baltic leaders urged the United States to adequately assess the threat from Russia, which, according to them, is a “hybrid war”, combining cyber attacks and a campaign of influence in social networks with the intimidation of a military nature against their countries and other States.
During a visit to Estonia last summer, Vice-President Mike Pence made clear that the United States stand with the people of the three Baltic States in the face of military aggression.
“Under the leadership of President Donald trump, the United States reject any attempt to use force, threats, intimidation or harmful effects in the Baltic States or against any of our Treaty allies,” said Pence.
It is expected that the leaders of the Baltic States underlined that the United States should not underestimate the threat to the Baltic States coming from Russia in the period when Moscow continues missile tests in international waters in extreme proximity to Latvia and Sweden. Experts say that some NATO members are concerned about the praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, often coming from trump, but at the same time they look to the actions of the United States.
The expert of the Atlantic Council of Magnus, Nordeman notes: “on the other hand, it seems to me that the Baltic Republic also look at the real actions of the US in terms of rotation of troops in Europe in terms of military exercises in Northern Europe, and they do see a significant U.S. commitment and serious efforts of the United States to strengthen containment measures and strengthen security in Northern Europe”.
Luke Coffey of the Heritage Foundation believes that trump takes a tough stance against Russia. “He just kicked 60 Russian diplomats, he supplies lethal weapons to Ukraine and Georgia,” he recalls.
Most experts are United in the opinion that instead of rotational maneuvers of NATO the Baltic States would like to see a permanent US military presence on their territories, which would be a powerful signal to Russia.
“I think they would love to see even a small US presence in the Baltic States, as a signal of U.S. commitment to their security,” said Magnus, Nordeman.
Luke Coffey shares this view: “This is what we in the Heritage Foundation supported: real, steady presence, not rotational presence of American troops and the forces of permanent bases in the Baltic States. While the Baltic States want us there, we need to be there as guests.”
It is expected that the tramp and the presidents of the Baltic States will discuss the issues of trade, investment and cultural exchanges.