Warsaw, Feb 22 (EFE).- US president Joe Biden on Wednesday promised to protect all of the countries on Nato’s eastern flank, saying they are the first line of the alliance’s defense against Russia.
Biden was speaking during a meeting at the presidential palace in Warsaw with leaders of the Bucharest Nine, a group made up of Eastern European countries that joined Nato after the fall of the Soviet Union that is calling for more aid to be provided to Ukraine.
“As Nato’s eastern flank, you are the frontlines of our collective defense and you know better than anyone what is at stake in this conflict – not just for Ukraine, but for the freedom of democracies throughout Europe and around the world,” the US president said.
His reassurances to the alliance’s Eastern European members come the day after Russian president Vladimir Putin pulled out of the New START nuclear arms control treaty, a move which Biden called “a big mistake.”
“The commitment of the United States to Nato (…) is absolutely clear. Article 5 is a sacred commitment the United States has made. We will defend literally every inch of Nato, every inch of Nato,” the US president said.
Also at the meeting was Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who pointed out that almost a year after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin “is not preparing for peace – on the contrary, he is preparing for more war.”
“So we must sustain and step up our support for Ukraine. We must give Ukraine what they need to prevail. We don’t know when the war will end, but when it does, we need to ensure that history does not repeat itself,” Stoltenberg said.
During the meeting, which was closed to the press, the leaders of the Bucharest Nine were expected to ask Washington for more security guarantees amid fears that Putin could look to expand the war beyond Ukraine.
The group, made up of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, was created in 2015 in response to what those nations saw as Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior after it annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Biden was flying back to Washington on Wednesday night at the conclusion of a tour of Europe that included an unannounced visit to Kyiv and a speech in the gardens of the former royal castle in Warsaw. EFE