Latvian president says permanent NATO base in country needed to protect against Russian aggression

  • 2022-03-14
  • LETA/CNN/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvian President Egils Levits stressed Sunday that a permanent NATO military base in Latvia is “absolutely” needed in order to protect the country against any potential Russian aggression there.

“Absolutely. NATO should strengthen the NATO eastern flank. That’s the Baltics, Poland, Romania, so that this would be a strong signal to Moscow that NATO is ready to defend the member states,” Levits told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked whether US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s announcement that NATO is establishing a permanent base in Latvia would help protect the country against Russia.

“I welcome also the American troops in Poland and Baltics, and we need a permanent presence of American troops in this area. I think it is a response to Russian ideas on aggression beyond Ukraine,” he added. “So, we should defend our way of life, our democracies, and this is a question for the confidence to the West. It is an exam for the West. It is an exam for the American leadership. And I'm sure that America and the West as a whole, they'll pass this exam.”

Latvia, a NATO member that shares a border with Russia, has in recent days condemned Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The war has caused the US to help Latvia shore up its defenses, including by sending hundreds of American troops and some fighter jets to the country, CNN informs.