The leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will meet with President Trump at the White House today to discuss countering Russian activities in the Baltic. Increased defence cooperation and financial supervision are expected to dominate the agenda.
The four NATO allies meet as suspicions grow over increased Russian military deployments in the Baltic Sea from the Russian enclave, Kaliningrad. There is also heightening concern over the frequency of cyberattacks and a pressing need for the three Baltic states to reduce reliance on Russian energy. Trump will most likely push to focus on increasing US energy exports of LNG to break their historical dependence on Russian petrol supplies. But considering the scale of Russia’s petrol exports to the region, which account for up to 80% of supplies in certain Baltic states, supply contracts and transit route negotiation for such US exports would take years to resolve. However, long-term supply contracts with Russia means the cost of exiting these agreements outweighs the benefits of cheaper and less-assured supplies of US LNG in the short-term.
Whilst the energy security of the Baltic is far from secured, expect the summit to begin laying the framework for long-term and stable exports of US energy to the region.
Kai looks at security and political turbulence in the emerging market economies and also serves as a publisher with The Daily Brief.