We will protect all allies in any geographical location, against any threat, in any direction. Such a statement made NATO Deputy Secretary during the ceremony on the 5th Anniversary of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence multinational Battle Group deployment to Lithuania.
“Lithuania shares a 700km land border with Belarus to the East. And a 300km border with Russia’s heavily militarised Kaliningrad enclave to the West. And both are within a few hours’ drive in either direction from here. So Lithuania understands and we understand the concerns of Lithuania and of the Baltic Allies when it comes to this specific geography of the eastern flank of NATO. And the ever-present threat of Russia’s aggressive rhetoric and force posture, as we see now in and around Ukraine and with the exercise which is underway in Belarus.
As we have always done, NATO is bringing Europe and North America together to deal with the current crisis. And we also continue to call on Russia to de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue in good faith.
As your President has said, the time for diplomacy has not yet passed. And NATO, in our recent proposals to Russia, believe that diplomacy and political solutions are preferable to conflict. But also, we are prepared, also, for the worst.
As I mentioned, we sent our written proposals to Russia. We still await the answer from the Kremlin. We are ready to engage in successive meetings of the NATO-Russia Council to discuss sensible, rational, reciprocal and useful agreements we could reach, and we should try to reach, with Russia.
But not compromising on the fundamental principles of who we are and also principles of European security architecture. We’ll never, we’ll never accept the idea that a sovereign European nation can be vetoed by a third player in its own sovereign right to choose whatever direction they want to choose”, - said General Mircea Geoană.