Latvia ready to host German Air Force in 2024

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius continued a two-day visit to Latvia September 26 with a meeting with President Edgars Rinkēvičs on his agenda.

The pair met at Rīga Castle to discuss Germany's involvement in regional security as well as the risks of hybrid threats such as the artificial migrant flow on Latvia's eastern border created by Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko. 

"During the meeting, the President expressed his gratitude for Germany's commitment to the security of the Baltic region and its plans to increase the number of its armed forces, including confirming Latvia's readiness to host a rotation of German combat aircraft in Lielvārde in 2024," said a release from the Presidential Chancellery.

As previously reported by LSM, next year during the refurbishment of Estonia's Ämari airbase, the planes of NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission will instead by stationed at Lielvārde airbase in Latvia. The upgrading work at Ämari is expected to take up to eight months. 

NATO has been protecting the Baltic skies since 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the Alliance. NATO member countries that possess an air policing capability voluntarily contribute to the NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic States and this responsibility is rotated every four months at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania and Ämari Air Base in Estonia.

"Germany is an indispensable member of Euro-Atlantic security and I highly value its contribution to the security of the Baltic region. I would like to thank the German Armed Forces for their presence in the Baltic States and the plans to increase their troops", President Rinkēvičs said.

The parties also discussed the potential for hybrid attacks on the Latvia’s border from Belarus. Rinkēvičs said that Latvia is ready to take all necessary measures, including closing the border with Belarus and Russia, especially in cases of a massive influx of migrants.

Yesterday Pistorius met with his Latvian counterpart, Andris Sprūds, and Prime Minister Evika Siliņa, with Pistorius reaffirming Germany's willingness to help the defense of Ukraine but saying a decision on the supply of long-range 'Taurus' rockets to Kyiv was still to be taken.

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