15:32 Jul. 13, 2016
On Friday, NATO leaders at the Summit in Warsaw approved deployment of four battalions to the Baltic
The decision made during the NATO Warsaw Summit sends a clear message to Russia, saying "Not one step closer!" said Latvian MEP Artis Pabriks (Unity) in an interview with the Latvian public television on Monday.
He stated that NATO has returned to its roots with this decision, showing that Article 5 is a reality.
The MEP feels that Latvia has reached to a historic turning point with this decision since a few years ago nobody believed that such support to the region was likely.
Russian President Vladimir Putin convinced all NATO member nations of his country's threat, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite said following a closed dinner with top officials of NATO members in Warsaw on Friday.
"Putin worked hard to persuade everyone, therefore, I am very happy to see all countries understand unanimously and clearly what Russia is doing now, its conduct in Ukraine, and its conduct worldwide, as well as its conduct at our borders," Grybauskaite told Warsaw press on Saturday.
According to the president, "the Baltic states almost didn't have to talk" about Russian threats.
Regarding a possible Russian response to NATO's decision, Pabriks said that the country would use it as an excuse for its escalations and point to NATO as the pasty responsible for heightening the situation. Still, Russia had to be aware that NATO was capable of taking such measures.
Janis Sarts, the director of the Riga-based NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence, believes that Russian rhetoric will intensify, but the summit's decision has decreased the threat of escalating tension. He voiced his expectations in an interview with commercial LNT television on Monday.
Sarts said that a heated debate is likely at this week's NATO-Russia council meeting, while noting that open dialogue is essential. Aggravated rhetoric may also be expected of Russian officials, but these discussions are based on the explanation of positions rather than having their basis in partnership, he explained.
"Of course, there will be aggravation of rhetoric from Russia, but, in my opinion, deployment of the four battalions in the Baltic States and Poland rather reduces the possibility of escalation of tension than increases it," the director stated.