Estonia fears being ‘wiped off map’ by Putin under current NATO ‘tripwire’ defence plan
Russia: NATO must 'fight back as hard as possible' says expert
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Kaja Kallas said the current defence plans from the Western alliance for the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was to allow them to be overrun before liberating them after 180 days. During her warning, the Estonian Prime Minister highlighted it has now been more than 100 days since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ms Kallas said: “If you compare the sizes of Ukraine and the Baltic countries, it would mean the complete destruction of countries and our culture.
She added: “Those of you who have been to [the capital] Tallinn and know our old town and the centuries of history that’s here and centuries of culture that’s here.
“That would all be wiped off the map, including our people, our nation.”
The warning from the Lithuanian leader comes just days before the crucial NATO Summit in Madrid on Tuesday.
The Western alliance will talk through plans for the defence of its eastern flank following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including how to improve defence of Baltic countries.
All three of these nations want the strategy of having around 1,000 foreign troops in each country to act as a “tripwire” to be replaced by one in which NATO seeks to defend every inch of territory from the first day.
Ms Kallas commented on what she described as NATO’s plan to “lose it and liberate it afterwards”, adding the atrocities allegedly carried out by Russian troops in the Ukrainian town of Bucha took place some 80 days after the conflict started.
She warned: “Now everyone sees that this tripwire concept doesn’t really work.”
The Estonian Prime Minister said she had spoken to foreign troops based in Estonia — predominantly those from the UK.
They had told her given the current plans meaning they could be wiped out by a potential Russian invasion, “they are not fond of the idea that they are supposed to die”.
“We will also have more NATO forward-deployed combat formations, to strengthen battle groups in the east.”
Ms Kallas wants a division of troops, which is between 20,000 and 25,000 NATO soldiers, to be allocated each to all three Baltic states.
Thousands of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian troops would be included and a possible brigade of between 3,000 and 5,000 troops of foreign soldiers stationed in the country, increasing to two brigades over time.
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Germany is in favour of a “robust combat brigade” of troops in Lithuania that would be in addition to its current battalion of some 1,000 soldiers.
But most of these troops would be based in Germany and would be able to transfer to the Baltic states at short notice or to take part in military exercises.
Ms Kallas responded: “I wouldn’t be so fixated on these different models as long as they deliver the result that we are able to defend ourselves from the first day.”
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