Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso met on Saaremaa with Latvian Minister of Defence Raimonds Bergmanis and Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, with whom he discussed preparations for the NATO Summit in Warsaw, the security situation in the Baltic Sea Region, support for Georgia and Ukraine, and defence related cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
“Our assessment of the security situation in the world is the same and we are ready to jointly protect our values,” said Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso. “Russia’s aggressive and unpredictable actions continue to be dangerous and are a strategic calling for all NATO members. This is why the adjustment of NATO policy in our region is important, in order to accept the challenge and lower military risks. Our common goal is strengthening the protection and deterrence position of the Alliance at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, which means increasing the presence of Allies on land, in the air and at sea.”
The Ministers discussed how to simplify and speed up the process of moving NATO Allied forces and equipment to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “Figuratively speaking, our Allies military vehicles should be able to enter Estonia without a visa, not wait at the border for days until paperwork is formalised," said Hanso.
“We support NATO’s open doors policy,” said Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso. “In the current security situation, it is extremely important to continue providing security related cooperation and advice to Georgia and Ukraine.” Estonia has supported Georgia and Ukraine with cyber defence related know-how, provided advice with reforms in the field of defence, and helped to carry out training.
After the meeting, the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Ministers of Defence signed a joint communiqué. The Ministers of Defence visited the Baltic Workboats AS shipyard, operating at Nasva, and the Military Equipment Museum of Saaremaa, located in Hanso’s hometown of Orissaare. In the evening, the three Ministers of Defence will be departing from Kuressaare Airport on a Lithuanian Air Force plane to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, where they will meet with the Minister of Defence of Georgia and take part in the prestigious Georgia Defence and Security Conference.
The Baltic States are connected to each other by a common understanding of the region's security and defence related joint projects, such as the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, the Baltic Air Surveillance Network (Baltnet), joint Baltic Battalion (BaltBat), and other cooperation projects.