02:23 GMT +318 November 2018
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    An Abrams main battle tank, for U.S. troops deployed in the Baltics as part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve, leaves Riga port March 9, 2015.

    Balts Reportedly Asking US for More Troops and Arms to 'Deter Russia'

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    With tensions between the West and Russia being at a post-Cold War low, the former Soviet Baltic republics are looking for greater protection from NATO against the imaginary “Russian threat.”

    During their meeting with President Trump in Washington on Tuesday the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will ask him to send more troops and bolster air defenses on NATO’s eastern flank to “deter Russia,” EurActive online portal wrote.

    Even though Russia never tires of saying that it has no wish to attack any NATO country, alarmist statements about the imaginary “Russian threat” can regularly be heard coming from Western politicians, particularly in the Baltic countries and Poland.

    According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, NATO knows full well that Moscow harbors no plans of attacking anyone, but is simply using this as a pretext to deploy more weapons and troops along the Russian border.

    EurActiv quoted a senior Lithuanian official who wished to remain unnamed as saying that “the three Baltic heads were asking the US to send Patriot long-range anti-aircraft missiles more frequently for war games.

    They also want to become a part of NATO’s larger European anti-missile shield.”

    At its July 2016 summit in Warsaw, NATO decided to send four multinational battalions formed on a rotational basis by Britain, Germany, Canada and the US, to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

    It was also announced that Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg would contribute troops to the battalions in 2016, with Croatian and French troops taking over in 2017.

    READ MORE: NATO Shows 'Forceful Advance' in Norway, Baltics, Arctic — Russian MoD

    Relations between NATO and Russia have soured since Crimea's reunification with Russia in 2014 and the outbreak of the armed conflict in Donbass.

    NATO suspended civilian and military cooperation projects with Moscow and has since been boosting its military presence in Eastern Europe.

    Related:

    What's Behind US Deploying Patriot Missiles to Baltics for the First Time
    Lithuanian President Suggests Stationing US Patriot Missile Systems in Baltics
    Tags:
    air defense missiles, troops, US visit, Baltic leaders, Patriot missile system, NATO, Donald Trump, Sergei Lavrov, Baltics
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