Baltics worried about Russian military presence and NATO’s future

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Despite being worried about an increased Russian military presence, the Baltic nations are still congratulating America’s new leader, Donald Trump.

Tensions grew during the U.S. presidential election campaign when Trump floated the idea that NATO members’ defense spending targets would be a prerequisite for the US to defend a NATO ally.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says “the people of the U.S. have made a decision, we will respect their choice… we trust the United States, as it is our strongest and closest ally.”

In Latvia, President Raimonds Vejonis’s office says he is looking forward “to close relations with the new US administration” while the new Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, said the United States “has been, and will also continue to be one of Estonia’s most important allies.”

A spokesman for the Polish president says Poland cares a lot whether US President-elect Donald Trump will implement NATO decisions to deploy military deterrence forces in Poland and the Baltic states.

Marek Magierowski tells state Radio 1 Wednesday that Poland wants NATO to base battalions in the region, including a U.S. armored brigade in Poland, and to build a US missile defense base. The region is concerned for its security amid Russia’s rising military assertiveness.

Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz says he expects ties to be even better under Trump as president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is ready to try to restore good relations with the United States in the wake of the election of Donald Trump.

Putin said Wednesday at a ceremony accepting the credentials of new ambassadors that “we aware that it is a difficult path, in view of the unfortunate degradation of relations between the Russian Federation and the United States.”

Putin says “it is not our fault that Russian-American relations are in such a state.”

Earlier, the Kremlin said Putin sent Trump a telegram of congratulation, expressing “his hope to work together for removing Russian-American relations from their crisis state.”

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