We will defend 'every square inch' of NATO territory - Scholz

  • 2024-06-03
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

FRANKFURT - NATO's recent move to strengthen its eastern border is aimed at deterring Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday, adding that it should be clear to Moscow that the alliance will be ready to defend itself if necessary, Ukrinform and Reuters reported.

Speaking at the Eastern German Economic Forum also attended by Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, Scholz said Germany has played a leading role in NATO's presence in the Baltics on Russia's border, stretching back nearly a decade.

"And because the threat from Russia will continue, we and other allies decided last year to deploy additional units to the Baltic states and to station an entire brigade there permanently in future," Scholz said.

"But this turnaround in security policy is necessary to show Russia: We are prepared to defend every square inch of NATO territory against attacks."

He said diplomacy would only be successful from a position of strength, adding that it was absolutely vital that Baltic states could fully rely on NATO allies jumping to their defense in the event of a Russian attack.

"And that is a message for us. But it is also a message to Russia. Because the credibility of this promise is of course also part of Russia's calculation," the German leader said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meanwhile said at a joint press conference with the participants in the third Ukraine-Nordic summit that Russia is demonstrating that it may be ready to commit aggressive provocations in the Baltic region, Ukrinform reported.

"Putin has the ability to spread war. The situation is not as good as he tries to make it out to be, but he can still spread terror against our cities and villages in an attempt to expand the war zone, and he is training more forces near our borders. Russia is also signaling that it may be ready to commit aggressive provocations, in particular, against the borders in the Baltic region," Zelenskyy said.