Gates: Baltic countries' Western ties no threat to Moscow

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that Russia should not feel threatened when Eastern European countries strengthen their ties to the West. Speaking briefly to reporters after meeting with Estonia Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Gates said they discussed Russia's recent behavior, including its invasion of Georgia in August. "Russia has no need to impede a sovereign country's desire to more fully integrate with the West," said Gates, as he stood next to Ansip. "Doing so is not a threat to Russian security, nor is further cooperation on cyber issues." Asked about his country's security, Ansip said that he fully expects that NATO would defend Estonia, which is a member of the North Atlantic alliance. Gates added that the US continually reviews its assessment of the security situation in the region and that officials from US European Command were in Estonia last month for talks on the matter.