NATO nations seek ‘drone wall’ defense system along Russian borders

Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite believes that the EU should finance the defense project

The interior ministers of the Baltic states, Poland, Norway and Finland have agreed to create a unified “drone wall” defense system along their shared borders with Russia and Belarus.

This week, the NATO states’ ministers gathered in Riga to discuss how to coordinate their security measures amid rising tensions with Russia.

“We are witnessing persistent efforts” by Russia and Belarus to “destabilize our countries’ internal security and public order, sow panic and distrust in institutions,” Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said in a on Friday, accusing both of “weaponizing migration, cyber-attacks, disinformation, sabotage of critical infrastructure and other hybrid threats.”

As a result, “we need to consider evacuating the population on a regional scale, as well as securing the EU’s external borders with drones,” Bilotaite stated.

The proposed “drone wall stretching from Norway to Poland,” would protect their borders not “only with physical infrastructure, surveillance systems, but also with drones and other technologies,” Bilotaite told the Baltic News Agency. She also suggested organizing joint mass evacuation drills on a regional level.

Despite Norway not being a member of the European Union, the ministers agreed to explore the possibility of funding joint defense efforts from European Union funding sources, the press release said. The ministers were invited to a future meeting on September 6 later this year.

Last month, Lithuania’s parliament pledged to increase its defense spending to 3% of the country’s total GDP as part of its NATO role. Members of the US-led military bloc have set a military spending target of at least 2% of GDP, but some have not met the goal.

Earlier this year, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg announced that the bloc’s members were “coming together with a goal of delivering 1 million drones to Ukraine.” The member states must transition from peacetime to high-tempo production of these armaments, he said.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that Western arms deliveries only prolong the Ukraine conflict. It maintains that the crisis was precipitated by NATO’s expansion toward Russian borders, which it perceives as an existential threat. President Vladimir Putin has also repeatedly stated that Russia “has no interest … geopolitically, economically or militarily” in attacking NATO, and dismissed Western fearmongering as attempts to frighten their citizens into supporting the military industrial complex.