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NATO’s presence in the Baltic states – reassurance of allies or deterrence for Russia? OSW COMMENTARY Number 169, 29.04.2015 2015-04-29

Gotkowska, Justyna (2015) NATO’s presence in the Baltic states – reassurance of allies or deterrence for Russia? OSW COMMENTARY Number 169, 29.04.2015 2015-04-29. [Policy Paper]

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    In late March and early April, the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) held an exercise in Estonia, during which US F-16s destroyed ground targets in an Estonian firing range. Around the same time the Americans held a drill with the Swedish and Finnish Air Forces over the Baltic Sea. The United States has been playing a leading role in the process of strengthening NATO’s presence in the Baltic states. As far as the Western European allies are concerned, Germany will follow in the footsteps of Denmark and the United Kingdom, both of which made significant military contributions to the strengthening of the allied presence in 2014, and will deploy the largest number of troops in 2015. Non-aligned Sweden and Finland, key for the performance of NATO operations in the Baltic states, have been emphasising their military and political readiness to co-operate with NATO in the event of potential crises or conflicts. Comparing NATO ‘s military presence in the Baltic states before and after the outbreak of the Russian intervention in Ukraine, it is clear that NATO has stepped up its engagement considerably. However, its scope is still relatively small, given the much larger military potential and mobilisation capacity of Russia. Moreover, the message sent by NATO’s actions may be diminished by the political, military and financial constraints faced by the allies and Sweden and Finland. It seems that the greatest risk to the military security of the Baltic states currently appears to be the possibility that Russia could wrongly assess the reliability of NATO’s security guarantees.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Other international institutions > NATO
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 18 May 2015 16:39
    Number of Pages: 9
    Last Modified: 18 May 2015 16:39

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