In the meeting of the Chiefs of Defence of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia held in Riga on July 21 it was agreed that obligations for allies and preparation of joint Baltic States Battalion for duty in the NATO Response Force in the first half of 2010 is still a priority number one for all three states.
The meeting was convened when last week Latvian Defence Minister officially informed colleagues that due to highly complicated economic situation, Latvia will not be capable of assigning planned Latvian soldiers' company for the joined Baltic Battalion.
In the meeting Latvia confirmed that country will contribute to the battalion, although its input will be significantly reduced. Lithuania and Estonia agreed that they will jointly compensate lacking capabilities.
Chiefs of Defence also confirmed that three states will continue earlier started military cooperation projects.
Lithuania is in command of the Baltic Battalion. Trilateral military unit was formed in 2007 by joint agreement of Baltic States. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Armed Forces agreed to assign the battalion infantry company each, as well as personnel for the battalion combat support elements and other capabilities and units. Baltic Battalion is comprised of 800 soldiers, up till now Lithuania contributed 500 soldiers.
Baltic Battalion will start half year duty in the 14th NATO Response Force shift at the beginning of 2010. NATO Response Force is a highly ready and technologically advanced NATO force made up of a land, air, sea and special forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly whenever needed.
National units assigned to NATO Reaction Force are of high readiness and ready to be deployed to the site of multinational operation if a decision of NATO command to activate forces is taken.