Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania agreed to build a Baltic defense line in the coming years to strengthen the eastern border with Belarus and Russia, the Estonian Defense Ministry said on Jan. 19.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sparked concerns that the Baltic states, which are among Moscow's biggest critics and Kyiv's staunchest allies since day one of the all-out war, could become the next target for aggression,
These fears are reinforced by Russian leader Vladimir Putin's repeated threats to NATO countries.
The agreement signed by the defense ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania provides for defensive installations on their borders to deter and, if necessary, protect against military threats.
“Russia's war in Ukraine has shown that, in addition to equipment, ammunition, and manpower, we also need physical defenses on the border from the first meter to protect Estonia," Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.
According to the ERR public broadcaster, Tallinn plans to build about 600 fortified bunkers along the border, with each bunker designed to accommodate up to 10 soldiers.
The defense ministers of the three nations also signed a letter of intent for HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, which aims to establish a framework for the common use of the weapon system in peacetime and wartime.
From late January till May, NATO will hold its most extensive military exercise in recent decades, involving about 90,000 troops. In July 2023, NATO countries called Russia the most significant threat in a Vilnius summit communique while emphasizing that they "do not seek confrontation."