Baltic nations fear Russian invasion

Germany's Ursula von der Leyen said in Russia's neighbour Estonia, whose president fears the Baltic state could be overrun in hours, that the Western military alliance has demonstrated its determination to defend its eastern flank in recent months.

Baltic nations fear Russian invasion

 World Bulletin / News Desk

Germany's defence minister said on Tuesday that nobody should underestimate NATO's rapid response capacity, which has been ratcheted up in response to worries about Russia's military ambitions after its actions in Ukraine.

"Of course the issue of speed and of an adequate response to potential threats plays a major role and I can only recommend that NATO's reaction capacity should not be underestimated. It is high," she told reporters in Tallinn.

"We have shown the necessary adaptability and this is also a reaction to fast exercises we have seen on the other side of the border," she said, citing plans to boost defences and build out a new NATO "spearhead" rapid reaction force of 5,000 soldiers.

She was responding to a question about Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves' comments that while it would take NATO up to a week to deploy to the Baltics, "our neighbour" has shown in exercises that its strike speed is "basically instantaneous".

"They're here and it's over in four hours," Ilves told the British newspaper The Telegraph in an interview published over the weekend.

NATO, surprised by the speed of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula last year, has decided to speed up the response time of its rapid reaction forces.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Nisan 2015, 15:19