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U.S. will defend NATO Baltic states towards Russia, Blinken says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks to U.S. Embassy workers on the Vilnius Rotuse in Vilnius, Lithuania March 7, 2022.

Olivier Douliery | Reuters

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday promised fellow NATO member Lithuania the U.S. will act to repel any Russian army aggression towards that nation and different Baltic nations.

“The US dedication to [NATO’s] Article 5 – an assault on one is an assault on all,” Blinken mentioned, “that dedication is sacrosanct.”

Blinken was talking at a press convention in Lithuania’s capital metropolis Vilnius with that nation’s overseas minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis. He made related remarks in Latvia, one other Baltic nation that belongs to NATO.

“We’ll defend each inch of NATO territory if it comes underneath assault,” Blinken mentioned, reiterating feedback made by President Joe Biden in his State of the Union tackle final week. “Nobody ought to doubt our readiness; nobody ought to doubt our resolve.”

However Blinken mentioned in Latvia that there was no choice but on whether or not to place U.S. troops completely within the Baltics.

Lithuania, Latvia and the third Baltic nation, Estonia, with fellow NATO members and different Western nations have offered assist to Ukraine and harshly sanctioned Russia because it invaded the neighboring nation.

That in flip has raised issues that Russia will goal the Baltic states, which had been a part of the Soviet Union, together with Russia, earlier than its break-up three many years in the past.

Blinken is because of go to Estonia on Tuesday.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda instructed Blinken at a press occasion that the “worsening safety scenario within the Baltic area is of nice concern to .. all of us and across the globe.”

Nauseda mentioned that “Russia’s reckless aggression towards Ukraine as soon as once more proves that it’s a long-term menace to the European safety, the safety of all the alliance, regardless of how and when the conflict in Ukraine ends.”

The Lithuanian chief mentioned the invasion is “an excellent alternative to rethink” how NATO responds to and prepares for threats.

The overseas minister Landsbergis, mentioned “The US, Lithuania, and different companions of the alliance are doing loads, however we can not cease.”

“We can not afford for Ukrainian cities to turn out to be one other Srebrenica, Grozny, or Aleppo,” he mentioned, referring respectively to the positioning of the bloodbath of greater than 8,000 Muslims in 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Chechen metropolis destroyed by Russian forces in late 1999 and early 2000, and a metropolis devastated throughout the Syrian civil conflict.

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