Ex‑Latvian president underscores NATO's role in deterring Russian aggression
Live updates on the war in Ukraine
"NATO members such as the Baltic states, Poland, and Finland share a border with Russia. Whether or not Russia will attack a NATO member state depends largely on the power balance between NATO and Russia. Therefore, in order to avert another war, NATO needs enough strength to deter a potential aggressor," Levits pointed out.
Levits went on to explain that being "strong enough" refers to having such might that any attack on a NATO member state would result in Russia's defeat. "Russia needs to be aware of this," insisted Levits, who served as the president of Latvia from 2019 to 2023.
"This calls for us to decisively invest in enhancing our defensive capability. There must also exist a political will to use these military defenses in the event of an attack," the former president added during a conversation with PAP.
"An attack on one is an attack on all NATO members"
Levits highlighted that these are the two crucial elements required for maintaining peace along the NATO-Russia border. He also admitted that the views of Latvia and Poland on security situations closely align.
"We're making a concerted effort to boost our military prowess. Our society, state, and authorities are prepared to defend the country should an attack occur," he declared.
"A Russian attack on a NATO member state would translate to an attack on all Alliance members, including NATO. Hence, it would trigger collective defense," Levits underscored, emphasizing the gravity of such an event.
Defense Line of the Baltics
Earlier this year, the defense department heads of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia signed an agreement to establish a 'Baltic line of defense' along the eastern borders of their states. This defense line is meant to protect and deter any military threats. According to Latvia's Defense Minister, Andris Spruds, the construction of the 'Baltic line of defense' in Latvia could take up to a decade, and it's predicted to be a considerable financial undertaking.
The President of Latvia, Edgars Rinkeviczs, stipulated that decisions about building joint defense infrastructure must be approved by military specialists from the Baltic states, Poland, and Finland, given that Latvia is an active participant in the NATO joint defense planning system.