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PN Member Marko Mihkelson Advocates for Permanent NATO Presence in Baltics
PN member and Chairman of the Estonian Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson has argued for the need for a permanent NATO presence in the Baltics, despite German Chancellor Angelea Merkel's August 18 statement that NATO would not set up any permanent bases in the Baltics, as this would be in violation of the 1997 agreement between Russia and NATO on the use of troops.
Mihkelson argues that Russia has already broken the 1997 agreement, so there is no reason for NATO to continue to follow it: "This agreement does not exist anymore because already in 2008, Russia violated [the agreement] when it attacked Georgia. The final blow to the Russian-NATO partnership was given by Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, the occupation and annexation of the Crimea.”
Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser has also weighed in on the need for a strong NATO presence in the Baltics, given the changing security landscape: "Certainly a lot of explaining work has to be conducted among allies at the summit on how the Russian agression against Ukraine has dramatically changed the European security situation."
Mihkelson contends that Russia has steadily escalated the situation in Ukraine while increasing its number of troops along the Baltic borders by establishing new bases and strengthening those that are already existing. He maintains that NATO member states need to treat Russia as a real threat and work toward a permanent presence of allied forces in the region.
Read more in The Baltic Times.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos.