The United States on Wednesday said it has resolved to stand firmly behind Lithuania and NATO commitments to defend it after Russia warned its neighbor over restrictions on rail transit.
‘We stand by our NATO allies and we stand by Lithuania,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in an interview that was monitored by Africa Today News, New York.
‘Specifically our commitment to NATO’s Article Five — the premise that an attack on one would constitute an attack on all — that commitment on the part of the United States is ironclad,’ he said.
Lithuania, a former Soviet republic both in NATO and the European Union, has been among the most outspoken nations in opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lithuania said that it would restrict the rail transit of goods sanctioned by the EU into Kaliningrad, an isolated Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland.
Russia warned that it would ‘certainly respond’ to the “hostile actions.’
Price said that the United States welcomed the ‘unprecedented economic measures” taken by Lithuania and other nations against Russia over its invasion.
Asked about Russia’s statements, Price said, ‘We aren’t going to speculate on Russian saber-rattling or Russian bluster and don’t even want to give it additional airtime.’
Africa Today News, New York reports that Russia had earlier described the actions of Lithuania in recent times as ‘hostile’ while also warning the country of the consequences which they assured would be devastating.
A top Russian official, Nikolai Patrushev, who spoke to reporters on Wednesday described Lithuania’s announcement to ban the transit of European Union-sanctioned materials to Russia through Kaliningrad as ‘hostile’ while promising to retaliate.
The Ria Novosti, state-owned news agency, reported that Nikolai Patrushev, who is the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, said Lithuania will face the consequences of such action.