Today, the ten Defense Ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) met at Belvoir Castle in England: the United Kingdom, together with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia , Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
We reaffirm the importance of the JEF as a group of like-minded and proactive nations, with shared purpose and values, and a common focus on security and stability in the Far North region, Atlantic North and the Baltic Sea. Ten nations stronger when working together, the JEF gives us the ability to act collectively in an agile and responsive manner to address the diverse security challenges we face, regardless of their origin, in this part of Europe. that we call home. The JEF is designed from first principles to complement NATO’s deterrence and defense posture.
Never has the JEF been as important and relevant as it is today. During our meeting, the Russian Federation recognized the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, in violation of the Minsk agreements and international law. The ten Defense Ministers are united in our condemnation of this unjustified act, of the reinforcement of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine and of new incursions into the Donbass region.
We strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and reiterate the right of all sovereign nations to choose their own path, their own security arrangements and their own alliances, free from external aggression and coercion, as a fundamental principle of the European security order. We call on Russia to defuse and encourage it to engage in transparent dialogue, including through the OSCE and the NATO-Russia Council, to reduce tensions. We also condemn the instrumentalization of migratory flows and other hybrid activities towards Latvia, Lithuania and Poland by the Belarusian regime.
We reviewed the progress we have made in developing the JEF as an agile, capable and ready force, and agreed today to undertake a series of integrated military activities in our part of Europe of the North – at sea, on land and in the air. For example, we will soon conduct an exercise demonstrating the freedom of movement of JEF nations in the Baltic Sea. These and subsequent activities will remain preventive and proportionate. By acting together, we will demonstrate the solidarity, capacity and determination of the JEF to jointly defend security and stability in our region.