Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyt? and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis Before Their Meeting
PRIME MINISTER ŠIMONYT?: But still, welcome in Vilnius. And I think it’s extremely important that we can also discuss things in personal that we are in such a close contact that – I don’t know, I was joking a couple of time about (inaudible). So many people coming around, and we had a very good discussion with the Secretary of Defense —
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Yes.
PRIME MINISTER ŠIMONYT?: And then I’ve had a good conversation with Vice President Harris a week ago. So – and it’s good to see you here. Remembering what we were discussing over the phone, it was like that was a minor problem in comparison to what we are discussing now. And unfortunately, people are being killed as we speak, and this is a very grave situation. And I think we need to discuss what we can do more to help our Ukrainian friends. And also how can we be more ready for whatever bad plans – whatever that guy is having in his sick mind. So welcome.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thank you very much, Prime Minister. It’s very, very good to see you in person, and I think that’s exactly right. Part of the reason for my visit and this trip – where we’ve been to Brussels, been to Poland, to Moldova, and now on to Lithuania, to Estonia, and Latvia –is really three things. It is first and foremost to continue to work closely together with all of our friends and partners in support of Ukraine, in solidarity with Ukraine, faced with this unprovoked aggression from Russia.
It is also, though, to continue working together to increase the pressure on Russia and the aggression. And finally, but no less important, it’s to continue to show and strengthen the solidarity among NATO members, among the alliance, to make clear that even if we’re dealing with the aggression from Russia against Ukraine, we have strong solidarity, particularly the proposition that, in case of any aggression from anywhere, we will defend every inch of NATO territory. And it’s important to reaffirm with all of our allies that that is our commitment, our conviction, and to be able to say that and also show that by the work that we’re doing together to reinforce NATO’s defenses, including here in Lithuania and throughout the Baltics.
So I’m very glad to be here and have a chance to discuss all of this with you as well as the other issues we’ve talked about in the past, but in particular, that we recommit to the fact that one of the – I hate to say benefits; that may be the wrong word – but a silver lining of this very difficult moment that we’ve living has been the solidarity among allies and among partners. And I’m here really to reaffirm that. So thank you.