The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 7 November 2023.
Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty visits Lithuania and Latvia to reinforce UK cooperation on regional security and support for Ukraine.
- Following the success of the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July, Minister Leo Docherty will visit the two Baltic nations to show the UK’s leadership in tackling threats to European security.
- He will discuss plans to bolster NATO’s Eastern Flank before attending a NATO Cyber Conference in Berlin.
- Visit will also reiterate collective support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and enable discussions on the situation in the Middle East and preventing regional escalation.
Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty, will visit Lithuania and Latvia to underline the UK’s continued commitment to the Baltic States’ security and discuss the strengthening of support to Ukraine.
During meetings in Vilnius with Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister, Jonas Survila, and the Presidential National Security Advisor, Kęstutis Budrys, the Minister will discuss growing cooperation, from the training of Ukrainian forces to closer collaboration on regional security and tackling illegal migration. He will also highlight the need for a collective effort to prevent the tragic situation in the Middle East from escalating more widely and support humanitarian aid entering Gaza.
The visit follows the NATO Summit which Vilnius hosted in July, where the Prime Minister outlined the UK’s leading role in protecting regional security in the face of increased threats across Europe.
In Riga, Minister Docherty will meet Latvian Parliamentary Secretary, Reinis Brusbārdis, and the Minister of Energy, Kaspars Melnis, to discuss the importance of energy security, and how the two countries can work together to address Russian malign influence.
Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty said:
The Baltic States are on the frontline of Russia’s malign activity, and the UK is steadfast in our commitment to supporting them defend their freedom and security.
Through NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force, we are working with Latvia and Lithuania to keep the region and our allies safe, including through a united effort to prevent further conflict and terrorism in the Middle East.
More than 20,000 British troops will be deployed to the region next year, where they will take part in large-scale, multi-country exercises, as well as carrying out air policing and cold weather training.
The UK has a long-standing relationship with both Latvia and Lithuania across all arms of the military, including cooperation in NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).
The Minister is also expected to visit the Hill of Crosses, an important cultural site symbolic of Lithuanian identity and peaceful resistance. In Latvia, he will lay a wreath at both the Commonwealth War Grave in Jelgava and at Riga’s Freedom Monument, which commemorates those who fought for Latvia’s independence over 100 years ago.
Later in the week, the Minister will go on to represent the UK at the first NATO Cyber Defence Conference taking place in Berlin. The gathering will discuss the Alliance’s ability to adapt to evolving cyber threats and the strengthening of its ability to detect, prevent and respond to malicious cyber activities.