Baltic States agree on joint airspace defense

On Tuesday, July 11 during the NATO summit in Vilnius, defense ministers of the Baltic States signed a declaration on cooperation in the Baltic airspace to contribute to the fulfilment of NATO defense, deterrence and training tasks, Latvian Television's Ilze Nagla reports.

The declaration provides that other NATO Member States will also be able to use the Baltic airspace for these purposes, as well as strengthening cooperation in the field of air protection.

The Baltic States are committed to strengthening their anti-air defense capabilities, but will also call on allies to contribute. NATO has already decided that the “peace time” air policing mission needs to be supplemented with an anti-air defense model.

The Baltic States are now creating a single airspace that will be available to allies for cross-border training and also for signaling to Russia if necessary.

NATO allies throughout the alliance have deployed an integrated radar system, ground and sea-based air and antimissile defense systems, as well as destroyers, to detect and intercept potential threats. This is useful both in peace and in times of crisis and conflict.

In the event of a conflict, NATO's integrated air and anti-missile defense system will shield allied territory from threats such as winged or ballistic missiles. A range of detected NATO sensors on earth, air, sea, or space for such rocket launches. 

The Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš stated that the Vilnius Summit is scheduled to approve improved protection plans for the Baltic States.

"We will approve very important NATO defense plans that say how exactly we will be able to protect every inch of NATO territory from the very first," said Kariņš, adding that this is important because Russia's invasion of Ukraine shows that small countries on NATO's periphery need not only protection but deterrence.

According to one of the commanders of the Estonian army, “the Russians don't care how many men they lose, the score can be 3 : 1 and they think they will win anyway”. As Russia aims not only at surrendering Ukraine but at changing the entire European security architecture, it is important for the Baltic not to become a buffer zone between Russia and Europe.

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