“The security level in connection with the situation in Ukraine has weakened,” she said after talks with Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.
“I understand the concern of residents of Latvia, other Baltic states and Poland. I’d like to emphasize again that the fifth paragraph of the NATO agreement on mutual support is not only theory. This is the agreement that must be fulfilled if necessary and we should be ready for this. The preparation for this must be more intensive that we had thought just a few years ago,” Merkel said.
“Our possible measures will be not long-term deployment of combat units, rather strengthening of co-operation by other means,” the German chancellor said. “We can guarantee that if Latvia gets into a difficult situation it will get direct support from NATO. This is our duty and we will fulfil it,” Merkel said.
“Today, all of us are interested in the developments in Ukraine,” Straujuma said for her part. “Russia’s actions have fundamentally changed the security environment in Europe. Confidence is lost. We think that together we should adapt to the new situation and we should give a clear-cut response. I told the German chancellor earlier that the real presence of the [NATO] allies in the region is needed,” the Latvian prime minister said.