The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, left this Monday in Lithuania in response to fears in that country of a possible Russian aggression and insisted that “every inch of NATO territory” will be defended , referring to a phrase from the PresidentJoe Biden.
“President Biden has already said, we will defend every inch of NATO territory ,” Blinken said in Vilnius at a joint news conference with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielus Landbergis.
Previously, the Lithuanian president, Gitanas Nausedas, had expressed, facing the US and the other NATO partners, his fear that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, would not stop in Ukraine.
“Putin will not stop at Ukraine. Helping Ukraine with all the resources we have is a matter of our security as a nation. When I say that with all the resources I mean all of them if we want to avoid a third world war. The decision is in our hands.” “ Nausedas said before receiving Blinken.
Blinken visits Lithuania and Latvia on Monday, two of the three former Soviet republics – the third in Estonia – that currently belong to NATO. On Tuesday he will travel to Tallinn, the Estonian capital.
The three Baltic countries are concerned about Russian aggression against Ukraine. All three have a border with Russia and Latvia also with Belarus, a country considered an ally of Putin’s Russia.
On the other hand, Blinken highlighted in his appearance the effect that the sanctions are having on Russia.
“The ruble plummets, the Russian debt rating is deteriorating. We are doing what we announced months ago in case of aggression against Ukraine,” he said.
Likewise, Blinken highlighted the courage of those in Russia who oppose the aggression against Ukraine and recalled how more than 4,000 people had been arrested on Sunday for participating in protests.
Blinken also recalled that NATO is reinforcing the eastern flank to, as he said, “respond to any threat.”
“We are reinforcing the common defense to be ready to respond to any threat. We have deployed 7,000 additional forces in Europe to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank,” he said.
“This includes the extension, last week, of the 366 armored battalion that was deployed to Lithuania last July, the deployment of F35 strike fighters to augment NATO’s aerial surveillance mission, and an additional 400 troops from the battle group of the first armored brigade that will arrive in the country in the coming days,” he added.