The day before February 23, 2017 an American guided missile cruiser touched the shore of Estonia. A parade was held the next day in Tallinn. Militants of several NATO states took part in it.
Estonia became a sovereign state 99 years ago and entered NATO in 2004. Thousands of allied military machinery units and thousands of soldiers passed through the streets of Tallinn.
Sergey Kizima, a political expert:
A military parade is a way of showing that Estonia is not alone; it is a member of NATO and has mighty allies. It means that Estonia can count on some kind of protection.
They are not passer-through militants. From now on the Baltics is a permanent basing place of NATO soldiers. The main argument of the Alliance is the American Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser. It is capable of battling even if using weapons of mass destruction.
Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO:
Troops started arriving in Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Realignment of troops should finish by the end of June, 2017. I would like to stress that these are defensive measures; we are not going to deploy forces to come up with Russia. Our aim is to preclude war and not to start it.
NATO’s eastward expansion had repeatedly engendered discontent in Moscow. An agreement that the Alliance won’t go beyond Germany was signed as far back as 1990. Later on, a founding act was signed in 1997.
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister:
The expansion of NATO led to an all-time high level of tension in Europe over the past 30 years. NATO remained an institute of cold war. There is a notion, that wars arise in people’s minds. Logically, they should end there. But it hasn’t happened with the cold war yet.
Of course, bed-down of forces in the Baltics, in Poland and in the water zone of the Black Sea are strategic measures, aimed at a full-fledged conflict with Moscow. It is just political pressure. Even with the allied army of NATO, the military of the Baltics will hardly reach 30 thousand soldiers. And it is twice less than the number of Belarusian Armed Forces, which are exclusively aimed at national defense.
Sergey Musienko, a political expert:
Belarus has been standing and continues to stand its pat. Everything is done prospectively, firmly, no violent motions are necessary, nothing needs to be proved.
But there was time for fear-mongering to strike Estonia. Security agencies of the country are convinced, that Russia is qualifying young women, who will provoke NATO soldiers to take part in riots.
The newly-appointed administration in Washington caused big hardships for the Alliance. All member states must pay into the allied fund.
Michael Pens, U.S. Vice President:
Both U.S. President Donald Trump and American people expect, that all members of the Alliance will contribute into the funding. By the end of 2017, all members of the alliance must divert 2 % of their GDP for the needs of NATO, no less.
The other problem for the Baltics is NATO troops. They sometimes get into funny stories. Soldiers weren’t’ allowed into a bar, they started a fight, set fire to a car, singing army couplets in between.
This is probably why the attitude of the citizens is negative towards the soldiers. One in two citizens in Latvia doesn’t trust the alliance. The situation in Lithuania and Estonia is alike.