Vice-President of the United States Kamala Harris, speaking at Commerzbank Filiale München in Munich, Germany on Saturday (February 19) addressed rising tensions on the border of Ukraine, with Russia positioning a reported 120,000 troops in readiness for an invasion.
Read Harris’ remarks below:
“I am here in Munich because it is a top priority for President Biden and myself that we are continuously engaged with and working with our Allies and partners around the world, and that we work always on strengthening those relationships. And certainly, the last several months have been evidence of the work we have done collectively, all of us, in that pursuit.
A lot of attention is obviously being given today and the last couple of months to the issue of Russia and its aggression on the Ukrainian border.
And the focus for us in working together is to further coordinate — in terms of the work that we have been doing, the dedication of resources, and, certainly, the dedication of priority — to address that issue and what may be the ramifications; to do this work at the highest levels of our governments, understanding that our work together and our unity is a sign of the strength of our nations individually and collectively.
I’m here to also talk with our friends and our Allies and our partners so that we can continue to strategize, understanding this is a dynamic situation and will require us to be in constant contact around, again, our priorities, whatever challenges may exist, but also the work that we will continue to do to strengthen and coordinate our resources.
Today, we will discuss a number of issues that surround our shared concerns about Russia’s activities and the responses that we are prepared to make.
Our work together has been and will continue to be about strengthening our ability to deter activity in terms of aggressive activity by Russia as it relates to Ukraine; and about our collective defence and, again, the resources and the commitment that we have to our shared and collective defence.
I’m looking forward to the conversation and that being the basis of the work that we will continue to do to further reinforce our Alliance.
We have made clear and will continue to make clear that as we are willing and able and committed to the deterrence and the defence issue on this matter, we are also concerned and prioritise the importance of diplomacy.
We understand and we have made clear that we remain open to diplomacy. The onus is on Russia at this point to demonstrate that it is serious in that regard.
I recognise the threats at this moment, historically and going forward, to our friends — Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. We stand with you. I am here personally to say that. We stand with you on this and many other issues in the spirit of our Alliance and our mutual interests and priorities. And we stand together, all of us, as NATO Allies.
The United States remains committed to Article 5. And our position has always been and will continue to be that Article 5 is ironclad. And the spirit behind it — an attack on one is an attack on all — remains our perspective.
I do believe, I think we all know, our greatest strength is our unity. This is a moment that has made that clear: that our unity is evidence and is a measure of our strength.
And with that, I look forward to our conversation. And I thank you all for the work you do.”