Support for Ukraine and future security in Europe go hand in hand - Braze

  • 2024-05-31
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Support for Ukraine and the future security in Europe go hand in hand, Foreign Minister Baiba Braze emphasizes, who on Thursday and Friday attended an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague, LETA was told by the Foreign Ministry.

The priority topic addressed at the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague was long-term support to Ukraine and the future role of NATO Allies in the provision of supplies and training to the Ukrainian armed forces.

“A strategic priority and goal: to agree on a support package for Ukraine at the Washington Summit, by which NATO would provide significant military and financial support to Ukraine in the long term. This package provides for political, financial and practical assistance to strengthen Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities in its fight against Russia and to bring Ukraine closer to NATO. Latvia is one of Ukraine’s most active supporters. In addition to the support already provided, in the bilateral cooperation agreement signed earlier this May, Latvia has committed to dedicating at least 0.25 percent of its GDP to support of Ukraine’s military,'' said Braze.

At the meeting, the Foreign Minister underlined the need to continue Allied discussions on NATO policy vis-a-vis Russia’s aggression. In order to effectively restrict Russia’s ability to rebuild its armed forces and generally pose a threat to Euro-Atlantic security, it is necessary to implement a consistent containment strategy of Russia.

“During the meeting, I expressed my support for strengthening the Alliance’s defense industry, especially on NATO's Eastern Flank, including in Latvia – among other things, it aims to shorten supply chains and create new ones, for military use. Work is currently ongoing on the implementation of NATO’s regional defense plans. Deterrence and defense are consistent with NATO’s readiness to respond immediately and protect every square centimeter of Alliance territory,'' she emphasized.

Braze also pointed out that the Washington Summit during the year when NATO turns 75 would mark a critical juncture in the history of the Alliance. “At the Washington Summit an absolute majority of NATO Allies would have reached the target of spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense and some Allies spending considerably more. Latvia and the other two Baltic States have already exceeded this target. Currently Latvia’s defense expenditure reaches 3.11 percent of GDP,” emphasized the Latvian foreign minister.

At their informal meeting in Prague, the Foreign Ministers also had discussions on the priorities of the Alliance and the agenda of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government on July 9-11 in Washington D.C. The Ministers also discussed strengthening cooperation with partners in the Indian-Pacific region – Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand – especially in the areas of cybersecurity, hybrid threats and technologies.

Braze noted that NATO and its partners, including those in the Indian-Pacific region, must continue to stand for the rules-based international order and values such as democracy and the rule of law. It is essential for Latvia that, under NATO’s 360-degree approach to security, an equally high importance is attached to strengthening security of the countries located in the south of the Alliance.