United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday thanked the Baltic states for raising their defense budgets, urging other NATO countries to follow the example of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in defense spending.
Dalia Grybauskaitė and Donald Trump
© LRPK / Robertas Dačkus

"Your commitment to burden-sharing is an example, really that other NATO nations and partners all around the world will have to all get together and bear," Trump said at a joint news conference of the Baltic and US presidents in Washington.

All three Baltic nations earmark 2 percent of their gross domestic products (GDP) to defense, as prescribed in NATO documents. Many other European countries fall behind the Baltic nations in terms of this indicator.

In a four-country declaration published after the presidential meeting, the United States pledged to continue the periodic deployment troops in the Baltic states to deter Russia.

Asked again during the news conference about the troops US intended to send to the Baltic states, Trump did not give a specific answer and only said all countries were working together on security matters.

Trump thanked the Baltic countries for their involvement in counter-terrorism efforts, saying that businesses of the three countries could find points of cooperation in fields of research, technologies and medicine.

After congratulating Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on centennial anniversaries of independence, the US president said that the US would remain "a strong, proud and loyal friend and ally" within the coming century.

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaitė, in her turn, applauded Trump's leadership in reforming NATO and pressing Allies to boost defense spending.

"We talked with the president, I was joking a little bit about that we need leadership sometimes for decision-making, even unpredictable leadership (...). And we see this kind of leadership in President Trump," said the Lithuanian president.

"Without the leverage and pressure, there would be no additional defense spendings in NATO, there will be no additional decisions for rotating military forces of the United States in our countries, there will be no willingness to look into the matters of air defense, which we need very much," she added.

Trump had caused concerns in the Baltic states after criticizing NATO and speaking warmly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, his decision to supply arms to Ukraine and expulsion of Russian diplomats cleared some of the concerns.

Speaking to journalists along with Baltic leaders, the US president said that good relations with Russia would be a good thing, however, added that time would show whether this would become reality.

It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Finance Minister promises to improve proposed budgeting proposal

Lithuanian Finance Minister Vilius Sapoka rejects criticism that the proposed new budgeting...

Big win for Lithuania's conservatives in latest opinion poll

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) in April lost its top position in the...

Foreign minister expects Ukraine to stay on course after election

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius expects that Ukraine will not change its course after...

Court: intelligence info about Lithuanian ex-minister as untrue

A Vilnius court recognized on Friday that the State Security Department 's (VSD) allegations about...

Russian suspect in visa bribery case released on bail

Rinat Nasirov , a Russian citizen suspected of giving a bribe to have a Schengen visa issued by...