Blinken calls for NATO unity amid concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with NATO’s eastern allies on Monday about Russia’s military strengthening along Ukraine’s border, calling for a “united” stance from the Atlantic Alliance.

Blinken held a phone call Monday with his counterparts in nine eastern European countries, known as the Bucharest Nine.

During the meeting, the secretary said the US was committed to “close consultation and coordination” with all its transatlantic allies and partners while working to “reduce escalation through deterrence, advocacy and dialogue,” according to the spokesman. of the State Department, Ned Price.

The spokesman also stressed that Blinken called for “a position of the united, ready and determined NATO for the collective defense of the allies.”

The secretary of state “underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment” to Article 5 of NATO, which provides for the joint defense of any member of the seven-decade-old military alliance that was formed after World War II.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but has applied to join the alliance for more than a decade, a stance that has infuriated Russia.

Moscow has been demanding that NATO deny Ukraine’s membership and reduce its deployments in central and eastern Europe.

In a phone call last Sunday, US President Joe Biden assured Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the United States and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia were to invade Ukrainian territory again.

The Kremlin, for its part, said last week that Putin warned Biden that new US sanctions on Russia could lead to a complete breakdown in Washington-Moscow relations.

* With information from Voice of America, AP and Reuters

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