US Guarantees NATO Protection To Baltic Countries Against Russia


US Guarantees NATO Protection To Baltic Countries Against Russia
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Lithuania Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday March 7, 2022. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has begun a lightning visit to the three Baltic states that are increasingly (Associated Press)

VILNIUS, Lithuania - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday comforted Lithuania of NATO protection and American support as he embarked on a flash visit to three Baltic countries that have grown decreasingly restless as Russia continues its irruption of Ukraine. 

The former Soviet democracy of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all members of NATO and Blinken aims to assure them of their security should Russia choose to expand its military operations."We're strengthening our common defenses so that we and our abettors are set,"Blinken said, stressing that the US commitment to NATO's common defense pact is" sacred."

"We'll defend every inch of NATO home if attacked,"he said."No bone doubts our readiness, no bone doubts our determination."Memories of Soviet rule are still fresh in the Baltics and since its irruption of Ukraine last month, NATO has moved fleetly to increase its troop presence in its eastern- sect abettors while the US has pledged fresh support. 

Blinken's opened its Baltic stint in Vilnius, where Lithuania's support for Ukraine's resistance to the Russian irruption was apparent as signs of solidarity with Ukraine were seen on numerous businesses and on public structures and motorcars. 

"Unfortunately, the deteriorating security situation in the Baltic region is of great concern to all of us and around the world,"Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told Blinken."Russia's reckless aggression against Ukraine formerly again proves that it's a long- term trouble to the security of Europe, the security of our alliance."

Nauseda said preventative programs were no longer sufficient and" forward defense" was now demanded. He prognosticated that"Putin won't stop in Ukraine if he's not stopped."

"It's our collaborative duty as a nation to help all Ukrainians in every available way,"Nauseda said."By saying all, I mean, indeed all means all, if we're to avoid a Third World War. The choice is in our hands." Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for a swell in aid to Ukraine, noting that NATO abettors"are doing a lot, but we can not stop."He also called for an immediate halt to Russian energy significances."We can not pay for canvas and gas with Ukrainian blood,"he said. 

Lithuania also faces pressure from another major power — China — for its ties to Taiwan, an islet China considers a renegade fiefdom. China has taken action, including halting significances of certain products, against Lithuania for allowing Taiwan to open a de facto delegacy in Vilnius. 

Blinken said the Ukraine situation was applicable to Taiwan's situation in Lithuania because all countries should have the right to pursue their own foreign policy."Every nation is free to associate with whom it chooses,"he said. The United States continues to support Lithuania and each country chooses its own path."

Blinken arrived in the Baltics Sunday evening from unaligned Moldova, which is also warily watching the war on its doorstep, and Poland, where he visited the Polish-Ukrainian border and met deportees from Ukraine. 

Latterly Monday, Blinken will travel to Riga, where he'll meet elderly Latvian officers and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, before visiting Tallinn, Estonia and also traveling to Paris to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend and Macron has been in frequent contact with the Russian leader. 

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