Latvia’s Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said Latvia needs a permanent US military presence against Russia during a joint visit by NATO’s Secretary-General and European Commission President to Latvia’s capital, Riga.
“We need additional international assistance… We would like to have a permanent United States (military) presence in our country. And sea and air defense means basically going down to such systems as Patriot (surface-to-air missiles),” Pabriks said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to reduce tensions in the region, saying the military buildup was concerning because it is “unprovoked and unexplained.”
“Any future Russian aggression against Ukraine would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia,” Stoltenberg said.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the EU’s support to Latvia by providing financial and human resources.
The talks in Riga also came as NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland faced a border crisis with neighboring Belarus.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due to arrive in Riga late on Monday before a meeting on Tuesday with 29 NATO counterparts.
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