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Germany's Scholz vows to strengthen NATO's eastern flank

June 7, 2022

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in Lithuania for security talks with the leaders of three Baltic states. Their meetings have centered around defensive strategies amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chancellor Scholz in Lithuania
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in Lithuania to discuss security on NATO's eastern flankImage: Ints Kalnins/REUTERS

Scholz pledges more Baltic support

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday arrived in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on his first official visit to a NATO country bordering Russia since the war in Ukraine started.

Scholz met with the heads of government of the Baltic states to discuss the state of security on NATO's eastern flank.

The three Baltic countries all border Russia, and Latvia and Lithuania border Russian ally Belarus. Thousands of NATO soldiers, including German soldiers, are stationed in this region.

Scholz pledges to bolster NATO's eastern flank

Scholz said the leaders had continued intensive talks and said that "we are demonstrating unity in the face of Russia's aggression."

The German leader said Russia had broken all the rules that countries had been abiding by for decades. "These were the rules that were broken by violence, and the agreement on condemning Russia is related to all the consequences," he said.

Scholz spoke about the allocation of around €100 billion ($106 billion) special fund toward bolstering the German armed forces, saying that would help it become the strongest armed forces in Europe and one of the strongest in NATO.

Scholz also said that support for Ukraine would be provided for as long as it was necessary.

German chancellor: Building good relations key

'No dialogue' with 'terrorist state' — Lithuanian president

At a joint press conference in Vilnius, the leaders highlighted the threat Russia posed to regional security following its invasion of Ukraine.

"I believe that no one is under any illusion about Russia now. We must realize that Russia's military threat is not going to go away. It will remain a long-term threat to the entire Euro-Atlantic area," Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said.

Nauseda said that Russia was "systematically bolstering its security at the expense of other sovereign states, brutally violating the fundamental principles of territorial integrity, national sovereignty and international law."

Lithuania's president said there "can be no dialogue or cooperation, no appeasement or concessions to this imperialist, terrorist state," calling for a strong response from the democratic world.

Fear of Russia - Northeastern Europe on the edge

kb/fb (dpa, Reuters)