B9 group of defence ministers call for strengthening of Nato's flank

Defence ministers from Poland and eight other countries have issued a statement calling for the strengthening of Nato's eastern flank "from the Baltic to Black Sea".

The statement was made following a meeting of the nine ministers in the Romanian capital of Bucharest

The defence ministers of Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia (the B9) met to discuss coordinated security measures in the context of Nato and the EU.

In a joint statement, they guaranteed solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in their struggle with a hybrid attack carried out by Belarus.

The ministers also emphasised the need to strengthen Nato's eastern flank "from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea" owing to the threat posed by Russia.

They also said it was necessary to work on a new defence strategy within Nato.

"We need to look for synergy between efforts to build Nato structures and EU programmes, because they can perfectly complement everything related to defence. An example is the EU PESCO programmes," said Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland's defence minister.

The Bucharest Nine (B9) format was launched in 2014 as a Polish-Romanian initiative aimed at coordinating positions and exchanging views in the field of security between nine countries located across the Baltic and Black Sea regions.