On August 18, German Chancellor Angela Merkel assured Baltic states that NATO would protect them against Russian aggression.
Merkel said, “Article 5 of the NATO contract–the duty to provide mutual support–is not something which just exists on paper, but is also something which must be filled with life.”
According to The Moscow Times, “NATO’s top commander…[also said] the alliance would respond militarily if Russia tried to infiltrate troops into a NATO country.”
At a news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Merkel said Article 5 needed to be bolstered “with further exercises and maneuvers.” She said such practice would allow Germany and other NATO nations to “react swiftly and without hesitation” should Russia invade.
Merkel also indicated that Germany would start “air policing” flights over Latvia on August 20.
On April 28 Breitbart News reported four fighter jets from RAF Lincolnshire were deployed to the Baltic state of Lithuania to carry out “NATO’s air policing role” at that time. The British jets joined “six polish jets” to relieve a “US squadron [and] patrol the alliance’s eastern flank.”
Also in April, the EUobserver reported a U.S. deployment of 600 troops “to Poland and the three Baltic countries–Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania…[to] conduct live ammunition exercises.” The Pentagon said the deployment “was in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.”
Concern in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania is running high amid the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at email@example.com.