13:01 GMT24 November 2020
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    Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, will call for a permanent NATO presence in the Baltic region, said the Lithuanian army's spokesman, citing the security threat posed by Russia's "omnipresent green little men."

    The former Soviet states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will ask NATO to deploy its troops in the region on a permanent basis in order to counter the "increased" Russian threat, according to Lithuanian army chiefs.

    "The chiefs of defense of the Baltic states agreed to request permanent deployment of NATO forces in the Baltic countries as a measure of deterrence in response to the security situation in the region," spokesman for the Lithuanian defense chief Captain Mindaugas Neimontas elaborated.

    According to the spokesperson, the Baltic military seek the deployment of a brigade-size unit, consisting of about 3,000 military servicemen, to have a battalion in each of the Baltic states permanently. 

    NATO has repeatedly reported increased Russian military activity in the Baltic region, including cases of aircraft "nearly" violating the airspace of the sovereign Baltic nations, and unidentified submarines allegedly detected in Swedish and Finnish waters. However, NATO has failed yet to provide any credible evidence to confirm its accusations.

    However, numerous stories about Russia's omnipresent green little men have evidently captured the imagination of the Baltic states' military chiefs.

    Remarkably, Estonia is considered NATO's front line state in facing the alleged threat. A nation of 1.3 million people, it has mobilized recently up to 13,000 military personnel, of which 7,000 have been drafted into the army out of ordinary civilian jobs.

    NATO's joint military drills, which recently took place in Estonia, brought together eight of the alliance's member states, including the US, UK, Poland and Germany. Major NATO members have sent advanced weaponry ranging from anti-aircraft systems to Abrams battle tanks for the biggest war games held by NATO since the end of the Cold War.

    The presence of US military servicemen in the northern Estonian town of Tapa is viewed as part of Washington's operation Atlantic Resolve, aimed at demonstrating the US commitment to its NATO allies in Europe.

    However, a series of war games recently conducted by Baltic nations could be classified as provocative, experts say. The Baltic states are evidently flexing their muscles at Moscow, pointing to NATO's article five – the article of collective defense.

    Since last year, each of the three Baltic nations has hosted a contingent of 150 American troops. Although NATO's summit in Wales, held in September 2014, stipulated that the rotation of allied military servicemen and their armory in the Baltic region would be bolstered, it evaded the issue of NATO forces being permanent stationing in the three Baltic states and Poland.

    It is expected that the question of setting up permanent bases of NATO personnel in Eastern Europe will be considered during the 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw. 


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    military drills, NATO, military buildup, submarines, provocation, Cold War, Great Britain, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Germany, Moscow, US, Russia, Latvia
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