Date: 9 April 2018
Soldiers and Gas. The USA Defends the Baltic Allies
A summit in Washington, LNG supply contracts, announced arrival of several hundred American soldiers. The United States strongly stresses the meaning of the alliance with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Of course, this is mainly a sign for Moscow, which does not abandon the attempts at destabilising its three former republics, now the easternmost NATO’s territories.
On April 3 president Donald Trump hosted a meeting at the White House with presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaite, Raimonds Vejonis and Kersti Kaljulaid. The meeting at the highest political level was organised at the initiative of the USA president as part of the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the Baltic countries’ independence and to stress the strategic partnership between the United States and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Presidents discussed also the issue of providing security in north-east Europe. Of course within the context of Russian threats and defiance towards the Baltic countries. The summit in Washington should be a warning for Putin that the USA will help Baltic countries, if Russia acts with aggression. The White House has already announced that 5,000 American soldiers would participate in NATO “Saber Strike” and “Baltops” military manoeuvres, which take place this year in the Baltic countries. One should remember that American subunits have already been deployed, de facto permanently, in the Baltic countries.
While on the military ground Americans are preparing themselves for possible hostile Russian actions towards the allies, the energy area is the place of the battle for the Baltic countries. President Trump, during the summit on April 3, stressed the importance of ensuring “energy independence among the Baltic countries” by supplying energy sources with the American liquefied gas. What is important, it is more than empty words. During the Washington summit Lithuanian Klaipedos nafta and Lietuvos duju tiekimas co-partnerships signed an agreement with the Freeport LNG co-partnership on liquefied gas supply. It would be delivered to the gas terminal in Klaipeda.
Such moves, truly decreasing the dependence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the neighbouring Russia, trigger the Moscow’s reaction. Russia is not willing to abandon possibilities of influencing the Baltic countries. It is not only about the military threats and defiance or energy pressure. The attempts of destabilising these countries from the inside and gaining influences by the pro-Russian powers may occur even more dangerous. It is a threat mentioned e.g. in a recently published annual report of the Lithuanian VSD counterintelligence. Lithuanians are afraid that Moscow will try to influence the result of their presidential elections in 2019.
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