Poland was the first looking to use the “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine, which never happened, to push for permanent NATO military bases. Not to be outdone, Latvia is now adding to their call, seeking some bases of their own.
Finance Minister Andris Vilks is pushing the matter in a new interview, claiming Russia is “becoming more and more aggressive and unpredictable” and that this warranted a larger military commitment to the Baltic states, including Latvia.
Latvia has been pushing for a permanent US military presence for some time, and after they got a few hundred US soldiers now seems to have designs on a bigger alliance-wide deployment to their territory.
Latvia has some 6,000 soldiers and 11,000 reserve personnel, a fairly large force for a nation of only about 2 million people. There is no suggestion of tensions with Russia, however, and Latvia’s only other neighbors are also NATO members, so the push to continue to grow such a force, and supplant it from abroad, seems not to be based on any practical need, but rather on a hope to make the nation more internationally important.
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