U.S. Defense Secretary visits Latvia

From August 9 to 10, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III is on a visit to Latvia. On August 10, the President of Latvia, Egils Levits, met with Mr Lloyd Austin III in Rīga Castle, discussing the strengthening of the defence of NATO's Eastern flank and particularly the Baltic States, according to a release from the President's official website.

Levits thanked the U.S. for its commitment to further strengthening its regional presence in the Baltic States, which is a sign of NATO solidarity.

The U.S. defence secretary confirmed that Article 5 is sacred and all NATO member states are equal – attacking one country means attacking the whole Alliance. Austin thanked Latvia for its contribution to strengthening NATO forces, including the training of allied soldiers, and praised Latvia for providing military, humanitarian and political support to Ukraine.

 

Both sides agreed that the Russian war in Ukraine was not only military but also ideological and informative, driven by imperialist desires to strengthen dominance in Europe. Therefore, particularly important is the new NATO Strategic Concept agreed upon in Madrid, which changes the bases of NATO's deterrence and defense policy and provides for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to strengthening NATO's Eastern flank and, in particular, the protection of the Baltic States. 

 

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, meeting Austin on Wednesday, discussed the bilateral security cooperation between Latvia and the United States and the decisions taken at the NATO summit in Madrid, and the continuation of support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian military aggression.

"Latvia and the United States are close allies, united by common values: freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. We are close allies in both good times and bad times. Even now, when Russia is waging a brutal war in Ukraine, the US and Latvia are united in working on strengthening NATO and providing support to Ukraine," said Kariņš during the meeting.

Kariņš thanked the US for its continued support for strengthening the security of Latvia and the Baltic region, providing the presence of US soldiers in Latvia since 2014 and in close cooperation with the Latvian National Armed Forces in training and training of military specialists in the US.

Lloyd J. Austin III is the 28th secretary of defense, sworn in on Jan. 22, 2021. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Austin served 41 years in uniform, retiring as a four-star Army general after three years as commander of U.S. Central Command.

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