WARSAW, Poland — As part of increased efforts by the Baltic States to enhance their military cooperation and merge defense capacities, Lithuania's Defense Minister Juozas Olekas and his Latvian counterpart Raimonds Bergmans have signed a deal to synchronize military procurements for the two countries' armed forces, the Lithuanian ministry of defense said in a statement.
"By this document, we commit to seek effective and favourable procurement solutions which would strengthen [the] defense capabilities and enhance operational compatibility of the Latvian and the Lithuanian Armed Forces," Olekas said, as quoted in the statement.
Under the agreement, the envisioned joint procurements include deals to acquire fire-distribution centers for Lithuania's and Latvia's air defense, anti-tank missiles, and short-range anti-aircraft missiles.
The latest development on NATO's eastern flank comes as a result of an increase in defense efforts by the three countries, all of which have reacted with particular concern over Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.
The agreement "will not only help us track common denominators in the cooperation between our armed forces but will also reinforce the NATO assurance and deterrence measures," Bergmans said.
The Baltic States have a track record of joint cooperation on military procurements. In 2013, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania jointly acquired ammunition for the Carl-Gustav anti-tank weapons with Estonia on the basis of an agreement by the three countries and the European Defence Agency. Moreover, the Baltic States have been mulling to establish a joint medium-range air defense system to protect their skies.