At the beginning of August, Russia’s Defence Ministry turned to defence ministries of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Finland with a proposal to organize consultations about the safety of aircraft and ships in the Baltic Sea region. Among other things, Russia proposed making sure that military aircraft fly with transponders turned on.
Olekas told Žiniu radijas radio station that this proposal reminds him of ‘attempts to divide and conquer’.
The minister also expressed confidence that the problem should be resolved not in bilateral form, but rather as part of an international effort. «I think the proposal should be discussed in a complex form. A format in which we could reach an agreement is the Vienna document. We’ve offered Russia to discuss and reach an agreement on its restoration on multiple occasions,» – he said.
«I believe it would be best if we did that as part of an international decision-making process. We are a European Union member state and a NATO member state. We should not separate and make do without a joint position,» – the minister added.
The Vienna Document 2011 of the European Security and Cooperation Organization is aimed at enhancing security and trust among participating countries. It provides for the exchange of military information, provision of information about planned military activities in advance, verification measures and the organization of inspections and assessment visits.
Olekas compared Moscow’s behaviour to a game of dice
«First Russia unilaterally terminated our agreement on the exchange of information. It should be gradually restored if we want to accomplish anything and move forward. If they don’t like something, they toss everything aside and offer something to speculate about it later. They say they extended a proposal and no one wanted to participate,» – said the minister.
Nearly every week we register cases when Russian military aircraft fly near Baltic States with transponders turned off. NATO officials had stated multiple times in the past that such flights present a threat to civil aviation.
Now Moscow invites others to reach an agreement to make sure NATO and Russian military aircraft always fly with transponders turned on.