11:06 GMT +316 December 2019
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    U.S soldiers walk next to a Patriot missile defence battery during join exercises at the military grouds in Sochaczew, near Warsaw

    Washington Plans to 'Promote Patriotism' in Baltic Region With Patriot Missiles

    © REUTERS / Franciszek Mazur/Agencja Gazeta
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    There are many 'patriots' in the Baltics, but they are unlike the American ones, which makes it strange that "the United States has not shared patriotism with the region," Radio Sputnik observer Petr Maleev asserted in a tongue-in-cheek opinion peace, commenting on Washington's rumored deployment of air defense systems to Russia's western border.

    "Recently good news came to the Baltics. To be more precise, it arrived from the United States and brought us peace of mind by way of 'Mad Dog,' aka 'Warrior Monk,' mundanely known as James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense. Firstly, the fact that he came at all is a good start. Why he arrived is insignificant. If a gift is so-so, what does any reasonable woman say? Correct, that it's the thought that counts. Such things always make us happy here in the Baltics – it's nice to know that you are being used. This means that they need you, that they cannot do without you. When Trump took part in the election campaign, he said a lot of things that got many people here scared that we are being ditched. … It turned out to be a maintenance checkup," Maleev said with irony.

    Last week, Mattis was in Lithuania as part of a trip to Europe, which also included visits to the United Kingdom and Denmark. While in Vilnius, he announced that, as Maleev put it, "the US is ready to deploy anti-missile systems to the Baltics, purely as a defense measure against Russia, which has still failed to calm down and fall apart. This, people, is a major step toward stability in the region."

    Maleev was referring to unconfirmed reports that the Pentagon plans to send the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to the Baltic region to take part in NATO war-games. The temporary deployment would ostensibly be aimed at reassuring Washington's allies that the US is committed to ensuring their security in the face of what some in the North Atlantic Alliance refer to as an "assertive" Russia.

    For its part, Moscow has viewed NATO's military buildup close to its borders as an initiative which undermines security and stability in the region and beyond.

    Mattis refrained from confirming the possible deployment.

    "Speaking of patriots, there are many of these in the Baltics, but mostly in name only. Before 'mad monk' arrived in the Baltic region, leaked reports suggested that the US is ready to send Patriots to us. When compared to other weapons systems stationed in the Baltics, these are nearly brand new solutions. But Mattis did not mention Patriot systems. We are ready to send purely defensive systems, but I will not say which ones exactly, he said. In any case, the Baltic region needs 'patriots'. We'll wait," Maleev said.

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    military buildup, saber-rattling, missile defense systems, MIM-104 Patriot, James Mattis, Baltic Region, United States, Russia
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