“Russia has withdrawn from the agreement it made with us, so now we are no longer restricted in terms of having a strong NATO presence on the eastern flank and ensuring that every square inch of NATO territory is protected by NATO’s 5th Article and by our allies,” NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said in an interview with BNS news agency.
“Under the NATO-Russia agreement concluded in 1997, NATO pledged not to permanently deploy significant forces in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltics. Russia, in turn, pledged “not to undertake aggression against its neighbours” and has not fulfilled this pointed out Geoana and added that as a result, the Alliance is no longer constrained in its expansion of forces on its eastern flank.
“Russia has basically nullified all the contents of this founding act. (…)Russia has withdrawn from the agreement it made with us, so now we no longer have any restrictions when it comes to a strong NATO presence on the eastern flank and ensuring that every square inch of NATO territory is protected by NATO’s 5th article and by our allies,” Geoana, who is attending the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly taking place in Vilnius, said.
In response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Baltic states are asking for NATO international battalions deployed there since 2017 to be replaced by brigades. Geoana said the Alliance’s presence in the region will be strengthened in various areas, but the specific size of the force is not yet known. Final decisions will be made in June at the NATO summit in Madrid.
A four-day session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has been going on in the Lithuanian Seimas since Friday. Meetings of the Assembly’s standing committees are being held. A plenary session is scheduled for Monday.
About 300 parliamentarians from 30 NATO member states and about 100 representatives from 30 partner countries are taking part in the Assembly, which was originally planned to be held in Kyiv but was moved to Vilnius due to the Russian invasion. An 18-member delegation of the Polish Sejm and Senate to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, headed by PiS MP Przemyslaw Czarnecki, is taking part in the Assembly.