Pentagon Chief Calls US Ready to Defend Their Baltic Allies PHOTO/Reuters
WASHINGTON – Defense Minister United States of America (USA), Lloyd Austin said, the US is ready to defend the Baltic countries Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania if needed. The US will also maintain its military presence in the region.
“We are committed to Article 5, you can bet on that,” Austin said, referring to a requirement in the NATO Charter that members of the alliance defend each other if they are attacked.
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Speaking in Tallinn, after talks with Estonian leaders, Austin said the US would continue to maintain a “continuous and rotating” military presence in the region.
“The United States remains unwaveringly committed to the freedom and sovereignty of our Baltic allies,” Austin told a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.
The three Baltic States, Russia’s neighbor and ally Belarus, were once ruled from Moscow but are now part of NATO and the European Union.
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Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said his country was “working to prevent” being attacked if Russia was not stopped in Ukraine.
“Deterrence is a key word here. This is why NATO is creating a new regional defense plan which is expected to be approved at the Vilnius NATO summit in July,” Hanno said.
Since 2019, the United States has deployed a rotating group of about 500 troops and equipment in Lithuania, and in December announced a HIMARS artillery rocket system platoon and an infantry company in Estonia.