On 1 March, while visiting Estonia alongside NATO Secretary General, Chairman NATO Military Committee and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, LTG Jürgen-Joachim von Sandrart, Commander Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE), met with the multinational soldiers stationed in Tapa. Attached to the MNC NE chain of command, the eFP Battlegroups are NATO's land-domain first responders, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their host nations' troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of their deployment to the Baltic Sea region.
These multinational battalions were created following the decision of the 2016 NATO Warsaw Summit as one of the deterrence measures to protect NATO's eastern border after the Russian annexation of Crimea. In reaction to the recent military build-up of the Russian forces, which resulted in the unprovoked armed attack against Ukraine, NATO Allies stepped up troop deployments, including within the eFP framework. On 1 March in Tapa, Mr. Stoltenberg emphasized:
Over the last weeks, in response to Russia's attack on Ukraine, we have
increased our defensive presence. In the air, on land, and at sea. Our commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty
is iron-clad. We will protect and defend every inch of NATO territory.
Credible deterrence prevents conflict and preserves peace.