Latvia gradually takes over Baltic air police hosting duties

As of Tuesday, January 9, Latvia will gradually take over the maintenance of NATO's Baltic airspace policing mission while repairs are ongoing at Estonian Air Force Base Ämari, the Ministry of Defense's press department told LETA.

German armed forces soldiers and military aircraft will arrive in Latvia soon to start test flights. From March 1, the National Armed Forces Aviation Base in Lielvārde will lead the mission for nine months.

Since 2004, the patrol has taken place from Šiauliai airbase in Lithuania, and since 2014 the mission has also been carried out from Ämari base in Estonia on a rotational basis. This will be the first time the rotation of the mission will be welcomed in Latvia.

NATO Member States have performed rotary patrols of Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian airspace since March 2004, when the Baltic States were admitted to the alliance.

As Russia continues its war in Ukraine, allied aircraft stationed in the Baltic States not only respond to the illegal arrival of Russian military aircraft into the airspace of the Baltic States, but also patrol airspace near the Russian-Belarusian border.

In response to Russia's comprehensive invasion of Ukraine, NATO has tightened its airspace defenses since March last year, and increased the number of troops and aircraft.

The Ministry of Defense said that allied aircraft will be seen and heard more frequently in Latvian airspace in the near future.


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