Staunton, November 22 – When the Ukrainian crisis began, some commentators in the West suggested that NATO would not in the end fight to defend the Baltic countries even though the latter are full members of NATO by asking “who is prepared to die for Narva?” But now a senior US State Department has given a clear and unequivocal answer: Western countries are.
During a visit to Latvia this week, Victoria Nuland, US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said that “when NATO and the US as part of NATO took new members into the alliance, this means that we are ready to participate in the defense of the security of these countries, and this means that we are ready to give our lives for the security of these countries.”
That is why there are young American soldiers in Latvia now, she continued, suggesting that there should be “absolute clarity” that if someone attacks Latvia, we will be here to help defend Latvia” because “no one has the right to shoot at Latvia because no one has the right to shoot at the territory of NATO.”
In other comments, Nuland said that the sanctions the West had imposed on Russia were having an effect, “unfortunately” on the Russian people as well as the regime. But she said that the reason for that lies “in the actions of the Russian government” and not in the ill intentions of the West. If Russia lives up to its commitments on Ukraine, the West will lift the sanctions.
The assistant secretary added that “not only Americans but all people who consider themselves part of the North Atlantic space, including the European Union, are extremely disappointed by Russian actions which have undermined the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” actions that have continued “even after the signing of the Minsk accords.”
Russia has continued to send “arms and fighters to Ukraine,” Nuland said, and now “Russia must make a choice” about what kind of a future it will have.