The Baltic States’ Response to War against Ukraine

Photo: Pictured is an amphibious landing at Kolga Bay, Estonia, during DV Day on Baltic Protector. The demonstration on Baltic Protector deployment is part of the multinational task group the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell/Royal Navy.
Photo: Pictured is an amphibious landing at Kolga Bay, Estonia, during DV Day on Baltic Protector. The demonstration on Baltic Protector deployment is part of the multinational task group the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell/Royal Navy.

All three countries have adopted similar measures in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

1. Full-fledged solidarity: mobilizing help for Ukraine.

  • Russia’s war against Ukraine is a war against the entire Western world. We cannot allow Putin’s dictatorship to invade a sovereign country, eradicate an entire nation, and constrain its freedom to choose its future.
  • The three Baltic countries — Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia — support Ukraine politically, economically, and militarily. Our humanitarian response includes almost every household contributing to the Ukrainian cause. We donate, we volunteer, we share our homes with the refugees, and we actively participate in logistical delivery.

2. Activation of the total defense doctrine: when the state institutions work hand in hand with our citizens to bolster our security.

  • In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, state institutions are on the highest readiness. The Baltic states all already commit over 2% of GDP to defense. Now, Lithuania is pushing towards 3%.
  • Multilaterally, we have done our part by contributing to NATO operations around the world. And while all the Baltics host NATO’s enhanced forward presence, we also count on our allies and partners to further reinforce NATO/our eastern flank.
  • And in accordance with the total defense approach, our societies have started mobilizing too. Non-kinetic activities are on the rise, such as enlisting in volunteer defensive organizations, and joining cyber-brigades to help Ukrainians counter Russian hacking and disinformation attempts. 

3. Maintaining advocacy for sustained Western solidarity in pressuring Russia to withdraw.

  • The Baltic states understand the economic price that needs to be paid in order to comprehensively confront Russia. Even with rising energy prices, and disrupted supply chains in the short term, we say it’s worth every dollar.
  • We continue advocating for complete isolation of Russia: sanctions on the entire regime, withdrawal of Western companies, and the boycott of Russian ones. 
  • We echo Ukrainian pleas for more military support.
  • We continue arguing that Ukraine should be given European Union candidate status, and are ready to help the country prepare.
  • And finally, we continue to push for a grand Ukraine reconstruction plan after Russian/Putin’s troops leave.

Dalia Bankauskaitė is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis with CEPA's Democratic Resilience Program, Professor at the Vilnius University, and an Expert at the Swedish Defence University. An interdisciplinary expert in security policy, strategic communication, and political advisory, she focuses on advancing the understanding around total defense and strat comms campaigns for high-visibility issues.

 


Photo: Pictured is an amphibious landing at Kolga Bay, Estonia, during DV Day on Baltic Protector. The demonstration on Baltic Protector deployment is part of the multinational task group the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell/Royal Navy.

March 28, 2022