Trump welcomes Baltic leaders as Russian tension boils

Baltic leaders to seek more US protection against Russia
White House touts new infusion of military aid, financial support for Baltic states

06 April, 2018

Trump, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite met for a working luncheon in the morning before holding a joint news conference later in the day. Instead, Trump insisted that nobody had been "tougher on Russia" than him, and only superficially commented on his "relationship" with Putin.

An elderly Lithuanian genuine that asked for to remain anonymous to the AFP press business Ms Grybauskaite, Mrs Kaljulaid Vejonis and also Mr Vejonis had actually been asking the deliver Patriot long-range anti-aircraft projectiles additional constantly for war computer game.

"The United States continues to improve defense and security infrastructure in the Baltic region, strengthen Baltic national resilience efforts, and build defense capacity through security assistance programs such as Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET)", the announcement reads.

"We are with [the Baltic states], we are friends and we are allies", Trump said from the East Room while flanked by the Baltic leaders.

Baltic leaders have before now revealed their concern at exactly what they viewed as Mr Trump's conciliatory tone versus Mr Putin after his success within the 2016 United States Governmental political election.

The White House on Tuesday said the United States would boost its Baltic defense and security cooperation with almost $100 million to procure large-caliber ammunition and more than $70 million in training and equipment programs to build the capacity of the national-level military or security forces of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Therefore the only reasonable conclusion is that in this instance the exercises are intended as a signal to other countries, demonstrating Russia's military capability and also a theoretical ability to cut off the Baltic states from assistance from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Cepurītis said.

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"We did 60. There is nobody been tougher on Russia", Trump said.

For 18 minutes, the leaders sat "stoically and largely expressionless" as Trump spoke on various concerns not related to the Baltics, according to a White House news pool report.

"Getting along with Russian Federation is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump said during the luncheon. "Now maybe we will and maybe we won't. And just about everybody agrees to that except very stupid people", Mr Trump said.

Russia has loomed large over the Trump administration for much of the President's time in office as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates the country's meddling in the 2016 election and any collusion between Trump's orbit of supporters and Russian operatives.

For Simas Celutka from the Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, the recent expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain over the poisoning of a spy was a sign of a more confrontational posture.

In the Baltics, uncertainty has clouded Trump's motives with regards to Russian Federation.

The United States plans to provide almost $100 million to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for the procurement of large-caliber ammunition and $70 million for training and equipping their forces, according to an announcement from the White House. "We are behind and with you".

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