Our Bureau
11:24 AM, June 13, 2016
Baltic States, Poland Discuss Regional Air Defense System Development To Counter Russian Presence

The Baltic States and Poland have reportedly launched discussions with defense contractors for developing a regional antiaircraft missile shield to protect against Russian aircraft.

Financial Times of London quotes Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas as saying that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland are all involved in "discussions" with each other about building a regional air defense system.

“We are discussing very actively with SACEUR [Nato’s supreme allied commander] how to create an air defence system over the Baltic states — not only anti aircraft rockets but an air defence mission here, too,” Lieutenant-General Vytautas Zukas, Lithuanian chief of defence, was quoted as saying in the report. 

Oleks said the four NATO-member countries are currently "evaluating procurement options" and hope the system will be operational within two or three years.

The four countries have expressed concerns about a build-up of Russian troops on their borders and in Russia's Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, a June 12 report says.

In early July, at a summit in Warsaw, NATO leaders are expected to agree to the deployment of more alliance troops along the alliance's eastern flank in response to Russia's military deployments and military assertiveness.