NATO Jets Intercept Russian Aircraft

Elias Hubbard
August 2, 2017

The three Baltics are the only former Soviet republics now in the alliance.

Saying that Trump "knows security is the foundation of our prosperity", Pence said America and the Baltic countries would seek new ways to increase prosperity by increasing two-way trade that now amounts to $3.5 billion and by increasing their mutual investments.

Pence will hold discussions Monday with Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia, Raimonds Vejonis of Latvia and Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania on the second day of a European tour that also takes him to Georgia and Montenegro.

Energy is one way that Washington is seeking to tighten its commercial ties with the Baltic countries.

At a dinner with President Filip Vujanovic and other Montenegrin political leaders, Pence said his trip to the nation of 620,000 is "testament to the fact that America has no small allies - only strong allies". "And I am confident that this deal will only be the first of many".

Russia's air force sent seven military jets zooming past Latvia Tuesday, before forces in Estonia and Finland scrambled to intercept three Russian warplanes further north in the Baltic Sea. President Trump has been unclear in the past about where he draws the line with Russian Federation.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all have asked for tangible demonstrations of USA military support.

"We hope for better days and better relations with Russia", Pence told reporters. Since Russia's annexation of Crimea and backing of insurgents in Donbas, both territories in ex-Soviet state Ukraine, the Baltic states' worry about a similar scenario in northeastern Europe has peaked.

The number of air incidents involving Russian and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation planes has increased in the past years as a result of growing presence of the US-led alliance forces near Russia's western border since 2014.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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