US President Barack Obama minced no words and left no doubts in his keynote address at the Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, saying that the US would unconditionally come to the defense of its small Baltic allies in case of need and that the US would never condone or recognize the Russian invasion and annexation of any part of Ukraine.
In a speech largely dedicated to reassurance of newer allies and representing perhaps the most powerful expression of support from the US over the last 23 years of restored diplomatic relations, Obama made clear where the US stood on Baltic as well as Ukrainian independence.
“Just as we never accepted the occupation and illegal annexation of the Baltic nations, we will not accept Russia’s occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea or any part of Ukraine,” he said. Among much else, he denied that NATO had second-class members. “The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London.”