The decision to deploy four multinational battalions in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on the basis of rotation was taken after NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016. The core of the contingent in Latvia is Canada, in Lithuania – Germany, in Estonia – the United Kingdom and in Poland – the United States. However, this decision also had some negative consequences, especially for local residents of the host nations.
The authorities of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have signed special agreements on the legal status of foreign military personnel before arrival of NATO soldiers in the Baltic States. These soldiers in the Baltics have a number of benefits. They enjoy legal immunity, are freed from paying taxes, and they also have a possibility to buy food and alcohol at favorable prices in specially built stores.
It sounds good, but the inhabitants of the Baltic republics are unhappy with the fact that their authorities have granted the NATO soldiers with a special status. Foreign military personnel were found guilty of dozens of episodes connected with disturbance of public order in the past two years.
It’s scandalous that these hooligans have suffered very mild punishment for their criminal actions, or absolutely avoided responsibility. The list of such crimes is too wide. Here are only the main ones.
Three British army officers drunkenly clashed with the Latvian police on a night out in Riga in April, 2018. One of the junior officers was detained for a couple of hours while another was repelled with pepper spray during the “altercation” on a boozy outing in the Latvian capital.
Also it is possible to mention a case of debauch arranged by drunken German soldiers in the Lithuanian city of Rukla last year. A quarrel arose between the soldiers. Verbal clarification of the relationship had quickly developed into a fight. As a result – one of the servicemen was hospitalized.
One more incident occurred with drunken British soldiers which had staged a fight with local residents in Riga’s McDonald’s. The British who started the fight had hastily left Latvia to avoid criminal liability for beating the Latvian Axel Aizkalns. It became known only this month that the British Military Court decided to impose only a fine per culprit.
Let’s continue the list of crimes – the fight was staged by five drunken Czech military in February, 2017 in Klaipeda; four drunken German soldiers were beaten in Jonava in June, 2017. Drunken Dutch soldiers staged a fight over the bill in the restaurant a month later.
All brawlers eventually went to their homeland: the Lithuanian police detained them, but each time released. Lithuania and other Baltic countries have no right to prosecute NATO servicemen for crimes committed in the Baltic territories.
It can be assumed that the soldiers for the international battalions are chosen from the most undisciplined and aggressive groups of persons. NATO leaders send them to the Baltic States to avoid such crimes in their home countries.
By the way, all information on drunken debauches of NATO soldiers is being kept secret. Thugs are being just expelled from the Baltic countries to their homeland. The main reasons for these crimes are called “Moscow’s hand” and “Kremlin propaganda”, which are trying to blacken the international NATO defenders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from Russian occupation.
But it looks like as if a behavior of these “defenders” in the Baltic countries is a real occupation, but not a protection.