For nearly eight weeks now, we’ve had a war on the European continent – and every week the violence and brutality perpetrated by Russia reaches a new level. The only effective constraint on Russian aggression has been Ukraine’s strong willingness to defend itself. Putin has cast aside all regard for human life and international law, as well as for the lives and prospects for development of the Russian people. He has thereby also reduced large parts of Europe’s security architecture to rubble – one that we have spent the past years building up and that functioned as a security guarantee, in particular for our Eastern European friends.
During my trip to the Baltic states, I want to make clear that Germany is taking the new realities into account, with everything this implies: we are resolutely supporting Ukraine as it fights for its survival, with weapons, financial aid and additional severe sanctions against Putin’s power base. We are also strengthening our own defensive capabilities, as well as contributing our share to the realignment of our security in Europe. We are thus showing Germany’s partners that they can rely on us.
When it comes to the ability to defend ourselves, we can learn a great deal from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. For years, the Baltic states have invested in securing their energy supplies, strengthening their IT infrastructures, making their media landscapes more resilient and shoring up their defensive capabilities. Because, in the Baltic states, people have for years been keeping a close and concerned eye on Russia. I intend to listen very well and learn about their experiences and insights.
At the same time, I want to emphasise once again that we will defend every square centimetre of our Allied territory when necessary. In Lithuania, the Federal Armed Forces have already assumed the lead role in NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence. We are prepared to step up our engagement even more to enhance the security of our partners.