Belgian troops will be forward deployed to Estonia to replace the rotating Dutch contingent, the Defense Ministry of the small Baltic nation said Friday.

“We welcome the Belgian Government’s decision to join NATO EFP [enhanced forward presence] troops in Estonia next year!” the ministry tweeted.

Estonia’s defence chief Juri Luik said that “as small countries, we see eye to eye on security because our common security depends on the combined NATO force.”

The Belgian contingent will comprise 200 troops armed with infantry fighting vehicles and Israeli-made Spike anti-tank missiles.

The US-led military alliance agreed at the 2016 Warsaw summit to establish forward presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The British-led contingent in Estonia has been based in Tapa since April 2017.

Previously, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made an announcement, vowing that the alliance would maintain an increased military presence in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe “as long as necessary”. He named the alleged Russian threat as the main reason for the move.

Kremlin, in turn, has repeatedly slammed NATO’s military buildup close to Russian borders, vowing to “answer with a suitable response to all of these actions.”

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