US Vice President Joe Biden has said the United States is ready to raise its military presence in the Baltics amid Russian aggression in Crimea.
Biden told Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia, in Warsaw, Poland on 18 March that in addition to the six American F-15 aircraft in Lithuania that were deployed on 6 March, the US is ready to deploy more of its armed forces to defend the Baltic states.
The United Kingdom has also promised to deploy additional Typhoon fighter jets in April to safeguard Baltic airspace as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission.
According to the office of the president of Estonia, Biden assured Ilves that Article 5 of the NATO charter that guarantees collective defence of the alliance is “untouchable”.
“It’s obvious we need to find lasting solutions to increase the US and NATO presence in the Baltic region,” Ilves added.
On Twitter Biden later said, “The Estonian people, like many of Russia’s neighbours, have a personal stake in what’s happening in Ukraine.”
Cover photo: President Ilves meeting Vice President Biden in Warsaw (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz).