U.S. troops in Latvia tells Putin 'don't mess with us,' minister says

U.S. troops attend arrival ceremony in Adazi military base, Latvia February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia, Feb 25 (Reuters) - The presence of U.S. and other NATO troops in Latvia sends a message to Vladimir Putin that Russia should stay away, Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said on Friday as he greeted a small deployment of U.S. soldiers.

The group of some forty U.S. service members arrived from Italy early on Thursday - before hostilities in Ukraine began. The deployment is expected to grow to more than 300 soldiers.

"We are a small country. We are ready to do whatever is needed to defend ourselves. We are not afraid to die for that. But we might be overwhelmed, so this is very much why we welcome you here," Pabriks told the troops in Adazi military base on Friday.

Russia invaded Ukraine by land sea and air on Thursday after massing more than 150,000 troops around the country's borders including in Latvia's neighbour Belarus.

Latvia, together with Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, was once ruled by Moscow. They had long seen Russia as a security threat. But unlike Ukraine, the three countries joined the European Union and NATO, which brings security guarantees.

NATO's founding treaty contains an article on collective defence stating that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all members.

"We are not afraid that somebody might invade us, but the signal that U.S. soldiers are with us, and that other allies, from Canadians to Europeans are with us, is a good signal to Putin - don't mess with us," Pabriks said.

Over the past two days the United States has sent the troops to Latvia as well as advanced F-35 fighter aircraft to Lithuania and Estonia. It has also announced it will not be withdrawing 500 troops in Lithuania in April, as planned. read more

About twenty U.S. Apache helicopters landed in Latvia on Wednesday.

Reporting by Janis Laizans in Adazi. Writing by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Comments / 1680

Eddie Edwards

Biden needs to step up. These sanctions are meaningless. We are perceived as weak. The war in Ukraine is all on Biden for handing over the gas pipeline to Putin that Trump stopped. Biden is killing this country and others.

Jeremy Crider

it's funny some of you are saying drop a nuke, we need to attack etc. just wait, because America knows nothing of getting bombed everyday, America knows nothing about fighting a war on its own land. But one day it will come, maybe sooner than later and this country will crumble. we know war as something fought somewhere else, wait til it comes here and America will fall

rose rangel

read the Bible it says it all. God is in control his will be done but if it's possible Lord stop this war and all wars for the sake of all Children,elderly and families. may your peace come forward Lord, may these leaders from these countries with pride, money etc be stoped by your Almighty power Lord 🙏✝️ may these leaders from these countries make the right decisions and stop the bloodshed by way of your wisdom in Jesus name Lord Amen 🙏✝️💜🕊️


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