Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that NATO is looking at more permanent troop deployments in the Baltic region as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.
“We’re continuously reviewing within NATO our defense posture, including looking at questions of extending the deployment of forces, looking at questions of more permanent deployments,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in Lithuania.
“All of that is under regular review, and we’re engaged with NATO Allies in doing just that,” he added.
Blinken stressed that the United States will continue to stand by its NATO allies, referring to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that NATO members “agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” and “will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
“If there is any aggression anywhere on NATO territory, on NATO countries, we the United States, all of our allies and partners, will take action to defend every inch of NATO territory,” Blinken said. “It’s as clear and direct as that.”
Blinken also noted that NATO members have the go-ahead to send fighter jets to Ukraine.
“That gets a green-light,” he said in response to a question about whether the Polish government will send fighter jets to Ukraine. “In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians. What can we do? How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they are handing over to the Ukrainians?”
Blinken has been firm in his criticisms of Russia since the invasion began.
“They are destroying critical infrastructure, which provides millions of people across Ukraine with drinking water, gas to keep them from freezing to death, and electricity,” Blinken said on the sixth day of the invasion. “Civilian buses, cars, and even ambulances have been shelled. Russia is doing this every day — across Ukraine.”
“One can reasonably ask whether a UN member state that tries to take over another UN member state — while committing horrific human rights abuses and causing massive humanitarian suffering — should be allowed to remain on this Council,” Blinken added.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.