The United States will respond to any Russian aggression against NATO allies, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday as he visited Baltic countries worried about Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“As long as Russia continues on this dark path, they will face increase political and economic isolation,” Biden told reporters in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
“The president wanted me to come personally to make it clear what you already know that under Article 5 under the NATO treaty, we will respond. We will respond to any aggression against a NATO ally."
Biden's visit is intended to reassure nations like Poland and the Baltics that the United States will live up to its NATO pledge to protect allies under attack. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are all members of both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - unlike Ukraine.
There has been widespread alarm at Russia’s explanation that it annexed Crimea in order to protect Russian citizens and Russian speakers. Many of the Baltic nations have a significant number of Russians living within their borders and historical ties that pre-date the Soviet Union.
- Alastair Jamieson
First published March 19 2014, 5:46 AM