The US vice president, Kamala Harris, on 18 February in Munich, Germany, assured the leaders and people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that the United States stood with them in the face of the possible threat from Russia, and that the US remained committed to the collective defence article of NATO.
“I recognise the threats at this moment, historically and going forward, to our friends – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. We stand with you. I am here personally to say that. We stand with you on this and many other issues in the spirit of our alliance and our mutual interests and priorities. And we stand together, all of us, as NATO allies,” Harris said at a multilateral meeting with the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, the president of Latvia, Egils Levits, and the president of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda.
“The United States remains committed to Article 5. And our position has always been and will continue to be that Article 5 is ironclad. And the spirit behind it – an attack on one is an attack on all – remains our perspective.” Article 5 of the NATO charter assures collective defence – that an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies.
“We have made clear and will continue to make clear that as we are willing and able and committed to the deterrence and the defense issue on this matter, we are also concerned and prioritise the importance of diplomacy,” Harris pointed out, “this matter” being Russia’s potential aggression against Ukraine.
“I do believe, I think we all know, our greatest strength is our unity. This is a moment that has made that clear: that our unity is evidence and is a measure of our strength.”
“We have lost out independence to Russia once, and we don’t want it to happen again”
The prime minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, said that what Russia was doing in Ukraine was because it didn’t want democracy to prevail in the country. “And so, it is very important that we prevent this from happening.”
“We stay united… This is extremely important. … I’m super happy that we have been united all this – all this process. We are saying the same thing – all the allies, independent, whether it’s a big one or a small one, which is very important,” she added.
“And being a small country, like all the Baltic countries really are, we have all lost our independence to Russia once, and we don’t want it to happen again.”
Biden: Russia intends to attack Ukraine in the coming days
Russia has reportedly mobilised over 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border and the Russian president Vladimir Putin has tasked his diplomats with securing US and NATO agreement to his demands for a new security order in the Eastern and Central Europe.
The US president, Joe Biden, on 18 February said the American intelligence reports show the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, has made a final decision to invade Ukraine.
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to, intend to, attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days,” Biden said. “We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”