Editorial: German protection shown in action

Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.
Photo: Raigo Pajula / Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei

The recent public confirmation of rotating German infantry companies coming to the Baltics, by members of Bundestag, is of great significance.

As revealed by German behaviour, defence of the Baltics is taken seriously. What a joy to hear that, in addition to the fast reaction by USA, a major European power stands ready to move troops and engage in daily training. Hopefully, other European nations in NATO will follow suit.

Importantly, German companies will be able to exercise with Estonian defence forces as well as rotating American units present.

Equally importantly, Germany is obviously a main pillar for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) the formation of which was agreed at Wales Summit in September 2014. Germany has promised to send its officers into the allied staff element to be created in Estonia. The latter is vital for rapid readiness to receive larger units and basic communications with the headquarters of the latter. Since 2004, German air force has repeatedly carried the responsibility Baltic policing and the plans are for their Eurofighter Typhoons to again be at Ämari starting September.

As we know, commanders of Baltic defence forces are at the moment applying for NATO to boost its units on Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian soil to brigade level, with each granted a rotating NATO battalion.

The reason, naturally, is behaviour patterns of Kremlin. For two decades, NATO nations have attempted to involve Russia in the life of the free world. Among other things, they have avoided bringing allied units into Eastern Europe. Regrettably, Putin’s Russia treats NATO as chief foe.

Though in its entirety superb regarding any potential opponent, NATO’s problem is that Kremlin has built up an advantage in the Baltic Sea region. Behind the Eastern border, often and to the surprise of international community, large scale exercises are held with tens of thousands of troops participating at a time – another sign for military experts to conclude: early warning time has shrunk.

The apt response is speeding up NATO allied reaction as facilitated by presence of rotating units.