Latvian Defence Minister Pabriks: The U.S. decision to deploy forces in Latvia is a clear confirmation of NATO Article 5 guarantees
on February 22 the U.S. President Joe Biden announced the U.S. decision to increase its presence in Baltic States by sending troops and military equipment to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
"We highly appreciate the leadership of the U.S. in this extremely tense security situation, taking this decision to send additional forces and military equipment to Latvia, considering the Russia`s military escalation in Donbas and Russian force concentration in Belarus. The U.S. decision confirms our strategic partner's commitment to Latvia and its unwavering commitment to the guarantees of NATO Article 5, ” said Minister of Defence Dr. Artis Pabriks on the announcement of the U.S. President. "The U.S. presence will strengthen Latvia's defence and allow our society to feel more secure, especially in context of Russia's aggression in Ukraine." Minister A. Pabriks reiterated Latvia’s interest for continuous U.S. military presence in Latvia, understanding that Russia will remain a long term challenge for the West and threat to its neighbors.
"At the same time, Latvia will continue to strengthen its national defence capabilities and the general readiness and resilience of Latvian society. Therefore, I call on the Parliament (Saeima) and the Government to agree as soon as possible on increasing the defence budget to 2.5% of GDP,” emphasized the Minister of Defence A. Pabriks. "The presence of the U.S. forces, together with our contribution to strengthening the combat capabilities of the National Armed Forces and the development of a comprehensive defence system, is crucial for Latvia to deter Russia from further aggression and to prevent a recurrence of the tragic pages of our history."
Already reported, on February 19, in Vilnius, Lithuania, the U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin III assured the Baltic States defence ministers` the U.S. commitment to defend Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and all NATO Allies. He noted that the U.S. take seriously its commitment to the NATO Article 5. Secretary of Defence L. Austin approved that the U.S. commitment to NATO and collective defence was ironclad.
After the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the aggression in the east of Ukraine in the Spring 2014, the U.S. was the first Ally to send its troops to Latvia within framework of the operation "Atlantic Resolve". The aim of the operation was to confirm the continued contribution of the U.S. to the collective security of NATO members, promoting peace and stability in the Baltic States and Poland.
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