Baltic countries join in asking NATO Article 4 consultations as Ukraine is attacked
All three Baltic countries on February 24 asked NATO for Article 4 consultations following Russia’s early morning attack on Ukraine, official sources and local media reported.
In an official statement, the Estonian government said it had decided to trigger NATO consultations under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty “together with Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and other allies.”
Estonian media reported that the country’s Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets was in Kyiv February 24 to offer support to Ukraine, also saying that there were Estonian soldiers in the country, apparently on training missions.
In Riga, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš called an emergency meeting of the government, while Lithuanian media reported that Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte would ask for a state of emergency in the Baltic country and a special session of the parliament, or Seimas to discuss the implications of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
News reports later confirmed that Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda had declared a state of emergency subject to approval by the Seimas.
Kariņš confirmed on his Twitter account that Latvia was joining Estonia and Lithuania in asking for NATO Article 4 consultations.
Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, was in its regular, online session as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded . Local media reported that the lawmakers set aside the planned agenda and began the session with speeches condemning the Russian attack onUkraine.
Latvian media also reported that the first 40 American soldiers of an expected contingent of several hundred had arrived from Italy on February 24. This comes a day after Latvia’s Defense Minister Artis Pabriks on Wednesday said more than 1000 additional American and Canadian soldiers would be arriving in Latvia to reinforce the 1500 strong NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group, as announced in the US and Canada.
Regarding the Article 4 consultations requested by all three Baltic countries, the Estonian statement said that Estonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs “will present Estonia’s views on strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense stance in the Baltic region. The Ministry of Defense presents the same views to the Allies according to the cooperation formats.”
The announcement by the Estonian government and the wide coverage of events in Ukraine on local media overshadowed the February 24 national holiday, Independence Day, in the northernmost of the three Baltic countries.