Germany’s Angela Merkel promised the Baltic states on Monday that NATO would defend them, although it would not send permanent combat troops but would increase maneuvers. . . .
“I want to stress that … Article 5 of the NATO contract – the duty to provide mutual support – is not something which just exists on paper, but is also something which must be filled with life,” said Merkel on a visit to the Latvian capital, Riga. . . .
Merkel told a joint news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma that Germany would start “air policing” flights in Latvia from Aug. 20.
“But we must also now supplement this with further exercises and manoeuvres, so that we can react swiftly and without hesitation,” she said. “Everything must be done so that we have the infrastructure in the Baltic states to react quickly. . . .”
“We won’t have a permanent stationing of combat troops but we will boost our participation in other ways … we will do what it takes to guarantee that, should Latvia come into difficulties, NATO will be able to help straight away,” she added.