Baltic hopes after Trump's win: Baltics keep fingers crossed that Trump won't keep his campaign pledges - Reuters

12:36 Nov. 10, 2016

Baltics keep fingers crossed that Trump won't keep his campaign pledges - Reuters

Estonian Special Forces soldiers seen reading the area map after raiding the woods as part of 5,500 large NATO troop exercise in Estonia, on May 17 2016. (Getty Images)

Trump said he would not automatically come to defend Baltic states if they were invaded by Russia

The Baltic States warily congratulated Donald Trump on Wednesday on his U.S. election win, but hoped he would not follow through on campaign pledges to look at the level of their defence spending before deciding whether to defend them against Russia.

Worries in the three NATO members that Russia might act to grab them back by force following its annexation of Crimea in 2014, were stoked by Trump's remarks in July to the New York Times that he would consider their contributions to the alliance first before coming to their defence.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also depend on NATO to police their airspace, and expect the alliance to deploy ground troops next year to deter Russia, while the first two are ramping up defence spending sharply.

Read also Estonia alarmed after sixth airspace violation by Russian jet

Officials said they hoped Trump's rhetoric about Baltic defence and Russia was only a part of the election campaign.

"I really hope that the rhetoric on defence and Russia was mostly a part of the election campaign," Saulius Skvernelis, Lithuania's incoming prime minister, told Reuters.

Read also Trump wins presidential election (live updates)

His Latvian counterpart, Maris Kucinskis told the Latvian Independent Television he expected the United States to remain committed to the region.

"We respect the choice of American people and our policy is not going to change because of that," he added.

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