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FOLLOWING IN ESTONIA'S FOOTSTEPS, FELLOW BALTICS LATVIA AND LITHUANIA VOW TO BOOST DEFENSE BUDGETS
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Source: CIA

WARSAW - Spurred by Russia's interference in Ukraine and increasingly hostile posture towards the West, the small Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania both agreed at a meeting of their respective defense ministers in Vilnius on July 29 to increase their defense budgets.

Latvia plans on boosting its annual level of defense spending up to 2 percent of GDP - the minimum standard required of NATO members by the Alliance. Under its latest plan Latvia will reach the 2 percent of GDP level on defense expenditure by 2018, two years earlier than a prior military spending measure passed by the government on July 3, 2014. That measure called for Latvia to bolster their 2014 topline defense spending level from 0.91 percent of GDP to 1 percent in 2015, followed by an increase to 1.1 percent in 2016 and upward through 2020. Now it appears the rise to the 2 percent standard will occur much faster.

Lithuania, on the other hand, will bolster its defense budget to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2016, a marked leap for one of NATO's one of the lowest per-capita defense investors since the country entered the Alliance in 2004.

After reaching a cross-party agreement on March 29, 2014, calling for future defense spending to continue rising up to the 2 percent standard by 2020, the country began its journey from an equally low baseline as Latvia's. After shrinking its already-low defense topline by 54 percent following the ravages of the global recession on the country's economy in 2009, Lithuania's military budget equaled just 0.85 percent of GDP in 2011.

But with Russia once again reminding its former Soviet and Warsaw Pact satellites that it has not diminished as a security threat both Latvia and Lithuania are now ready to follow the lead of fellow Baltic, Estonia, and increase defense spending. For its part, Estonia reached the NATO minimum threshold of 2 percent in 2012.

While relying upon their NATO membership as a security blanket against potential Kremlin desires to reconstitute elements of Russia's former Soviet empire, the three Baltic nations are also keen to increase defense partnership amongst them and with the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO).

One crucial element discussed at the Vilnius meeting involved an earlier proposal for a joint project among the three Baltic nations for the acquisition, maintenance and operation of a medium-range air-defense system. If undertaken such a step would mark the first major joint defense platform acquisition project undertaken by the three allies.

Source:  Defense News
Associated URL: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/europe/2015/07/29/latvia-
Source Date: July 29, 2015
Author: D. Darling, Europe Analyst 
Posted: 07/30/2015

 
 
FOLLOWING IN ESTONIA'S FOOTSTEPS, FELLOW BALTICS LATVIA AND LITHUANIA VOW TO BOOST DEFENSE BUDGETS
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Source: CIA

WARSAW - Spurred by Russia's interference in Ukraine and increasingly hostile posture towards the West, the small Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania both agreed at a meeting of their respective defense ministers in Vilnius on July 29 to increase their defense budgets.

Latvia plans on boosting its annual level of defense spending up to 2 percent of GDP - the minimum standard required of NATO members by the Alliance. Under its latest plan Latvia will reach the 2 percent of GDP level on defense expenditure by 2018, two years earlier than a prior military spending measure passed by the government on July 3, 2014. That measure called for Latvia to bolster their 2014 topline defense spending level from 0.91 percent of GDP to 1 percent in 2015, followed by an increase to 1.1 percent in 2016 and upward through 2020. Now it appears the rise to the 2 percent standard will occur much faster.

Lithuania, on the other hand, will bolster its defense budget to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2016, a marked leap for one of NATO's one of the lowest per-capita defense investors since the country entered the Alliance in 2004.

After reaching a cross-party agreement on March 29, 2014, calling for future defense spending to continue rising up to the 2 percent standard by 2020, the country began its journey from an equally low baseline as Latvia's. After shrinking its already-low defense topline by 54 percent following the ravages of the global recession on the country's economy in 2009, Lithuania's military budget equaled just 0.85 percent of GDP in 2011.

But with Russia once again reminding its former Soviet and Warsaw Pact satellites that it has not diminished as a security threat both Latvia and Lithuania are now ready to follow the lead of fellow Baltic, Estonia, and increase defense spending. For its part, Estonia reached the NATO minimum threshold of 2 percent in 2012.

While relying upon their NATO membership as a security blanket against potential Kremlin desires to reconstitute elements of Russia's former Soviet empire, the three Baltic nations are also keen to increase defense partnership amongst them and with the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO).

One crucial element discussed at the Vilnius meeting involved an earlier proposal for a joint project among the three Baltic nations for the acquisition, maintenance and operation of a medium-range air-defense system. If undertaken such a step would mark the first major joint defense platform acquisition project undertaken by the three allies.

Source:  Defense News
Associated URL: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/europe/2015/07/29/latvia-
Source Date: July 29, 2015
Author: D. Darling, Europe Analyst 
Posted: 07/30/2015

 
 
RUSSIA DEPLOYS S-400 MISSILE COMPLEX TO THE FAR EAST
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Source: Russian Army

MOSCOW - Russia has deployed S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) air defense missile systems on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, Pacific Fleet spokesman Roman Martov said.

Crews of the anti-aircraft missile regiment will be put on combat duty shortly, Martov added.

Combat positions have been assumed near the port cities of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (home to the Pacific Fleet's main naval base), Yelizovo (home to the Fleet's air base), and Vilyuchinsk (home to the Fleet's submarine base).

The regiment set of S-400 air defense systems for the Kamchatka peninsula will consist of three battalions. The first batch of combat hardware for the S-400 regiment arrived in Kamchatka in February and the entire missile complex was delivered by June.

The S-400 Triumf is designed to replace the S-300 and S-300PMU2 throughout Russia. It is gradually being phased into service and is already in operation in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and in the Kaliningrad region. The S-400 can be equipped with very long-range missiles (up to 400km), long-range (250km) and medium-range (120km) missiles.

Source:  TASS
Associated URL: www.tass.ru
Source Date: July 28, 2015
Author: R. Barrett Edwards, Eurasia Analyst 
Posted: 07/30/2015

 

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