World

Baltic countries request permanent NATO troops as deterrent amid tensions with Russia

  • Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg addresses the media following the NATO Foreign Ministers' conference in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, May 14, 2015. The NATO ministers had gathered for two days in the southern Turkish city to plot strategy amid the continued crisis in Ukraine and instability throughout the Middle East, including in neighboring Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg addresses the media following the NATO Foreign Ministers' conference in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, May 14, 2015. The NATO ministers had gathered for two days in the southern Turkish city to plot strategy amid the continued crisis in Ukraine and instability throughout the Middle East, including in neighboring Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he addresses the media following the NATO Foreign Ministers' conference in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, May 14, 2015. The NATO ministers had gathered for two days in the southern Turkish city to plot strategy amid the continued crisis in Ukraine and instability throughout the Middle East, including in neighboring Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he addresses the media following the NATO Foreign Ministers' conference in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, May 14, 2015. The NATO ministers had gathered for two days in the southern Turkish city to plot strategy amid the continued crisis in Ukraine and instability throughout the Middle East, including in neighboring Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

The three Baltic countries are asking NATO to permanently deploy about 2,000 army troops to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Capt. Mindaugas Neimontas, spokesman for Lithuania's chief of defense, says the three countries are presenting the request in a joint letter this week to NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe.

Neimontas says the Baltic countries are asking for a brigade-sized unit, with one battalion of 700-800 troops in each country.

The troops would be stationed in the Baltic region on a rotational basis, similar to NATO's air policing mission, in which the air forces of NATO countries take turns patrolling Baltic airspace.

Neimontas told AP on Thursday that permanent NATO troops are "necessary because of the security situation. It's not getting better in our region, so it will be a deterrent."