The Netherlands Supports NATO Deployment in Eastern Europe
NATO on April 23rd announced additional measures in a bid to reassure NATO allies who feel threatened by the crisis in Ukraine.
The Netherlands has declared that it is willing to contribute to these measures. A Dutch minehunter will be sent to the Baltic on a training mission. In addition, the Netherlands will provide a frigate and F-16 fighter aircraft when asked to do so.
“Balanced and proportional”, was how Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert defined the set of measures in their letter to Parliament. “The measures outlined signal unity and solidarity within the Alliance, without escalating the situation.”
Exercises in the Baltic Sea
The Netherlands is already contributing tanker capacity for the AWACS radar aircraft operating in Eastern Europe. In addition to the minehunter, a number of naval vessels and a company of marines will be taking part in exercises from mid-2014. These exercises will not only take place in the Baltic Sea, but also in Poland.
The extra military deployment is part of a temporary reinforcement of the collective defence of NATO territory. The Alliance is stepping up the number of patrol aircraft in the area and it is also sending more ships to both the Baltic and the Mediterranean. In addition, the NATO countries are holding more exercises and they are updating their defence plans.
Press Release, April 25, 2014; Image: Defensie