At the launch of the new facility which houses around 42 personnel - half from Latvia, half from other members of the Alliance - tasked with coordinating rapid reaction responses in the event of armed conflict in Latvia, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe gave a clear warning to Russia not to think about repeating it actions in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine.
“What we're putting in place are the elements of deterrence so no unfortunate mistakes can be made,” Bradshaw told reporters at the official opening of the facility, saying Russia's action in eastern Ukraine had caused “deep insecurity” in the Baltic region.
“There is the potential for a minor confrontation to develop into something much more serious and that is precisely why NATO is providing these Force Integration Units (NFIUs) in the east of the Alliance... we want to make it quite clear there is no scope for limited conflict with NATO. That is the start of a very slippery slope which leads to an extremely dangerous place for everybody – a place that neither Russia nor Nato should go to.”
“We are here to keep the peace,” he added, stressing that forces were ready to "combat any attack on NATO whether conventional or unconventional in nature."
Information handed out at the launch of the new facility describes NFIUs as “small international military headquarters” rather than bases, on which basis NATO says it is not contravening the terms of the NATO-Russia Founding Act.
"In response to the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia's active support to separatists in eastern Ukraine and large-scale no-notice exercises, NATO has increased its presence in the eastern part of the Alliance," it added.
After the Wales summit held last year, NATO announced its intention to open six such bases across its eastern flank, a move that has angered Moscow.