Following a meeting in Vilnius, Latvia’s and Lithuania’s defense ministers have announced plans to increase their countries’ military spending — to 2 percent and 1.5 percent of their gross domestic products, respectively, local broadcaster LSM reports.
Latvian Defensce Minister Raimonds Bergmanis said that he and his Lithuanian counterpart, Juozas Olekas, also discussed sending Latvian military instructors to Ukraine to assist with training in support of that government’s battle against Russia-backed insurgents in the country’s east. Lithuania already has deployed military instructors to Ukraine.
Commenting on Latvia’s plan to raise its defense expenditure, Bergmanis said he hoped his country will “be able to take great strides ahead just like our neighbors did.”
Under the plan, Riga is to increase its defense spending to 2 percent of its GDP by 2018, the Latvian Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Other issues discussed by the two officials during a recent meeting included a project to set up a mid-range air defense system to be operated by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.