Challenged Baltic states
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
in Defending Eastern Europe
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Based on their small size and proximity to Russia, the three Baltic states are the most threatened in the entire region of Eastern Europe. This factor accounts for their blanket admission to both the EU and NATO in 2004, while their high level of economic development and preparedness to establish democratic political systems offered the promise of a smooth transition into both Western alliances. Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, the West placed a high priority on protection of the three states, and thus Russian cyberattacks led to NATO commitment to air policing of the region. In addition, the three states took considerable pains to develop their own military capabilities, and all three committed 2 percent of GDP to defense in 2018. Considerable discussion still occurs about prospects for the success of a Russian incursion, but overall Baltic defense capabilities have grown considerably since 2014.

Defending Eastern Europe

The defense policies of new NATO and EU member states

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