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Bucharest Nine leaders, U.S. President, NATO SecGen sign joint declaration

The Warsaw summit of Bucharest Nine, grouping NATO members of the so-called eastern flank of the alliance, has come to an end. The summit was also attended by U.S. President Joe Biden, and the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. As previously announced, the attendees signed a joint declaration.

B9 summit in Warsaw concludes

The meeting, which took place in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw was attended by leaders of the nine countries of NATO’s eastern flank as well as…

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The declaration contains a condemnation of the Russian invasion and calls for enhanced NATO presence on the eastern flank of the alliance, said Marcin Przydacz, Head of the International Policy Bureau at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.

“All allies agreed that they would support each other in the event of a threat,” Przydacz told reporters. “The next point of the declaration was the condemnation of the brutal, bloody war against Ukraine, which is being waged by Russia. All members of the Bucharest Nine signed these words.”

According to Przydacz, the B9 leaders have also agreed that the future of Ukraine lies in Europe and in NATO.

The declaration was signed by all leaders present at the meeting: President of Poland Andrzej Duda, President of Hungary Katalin Novák, President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová, President of Latvia Egils Levits, President of Estonia Alar Karis, and Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Following the meeting, the Presidents of Poland and the United States met for unofficial talks.

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Przydacz admitted that he did not know the topic of the conversation between the two heads of state, but conjectured that it most certainly involves “matters of great importance from the perspective of both states, from the perspective of the security of all of us.”

“The last two days show that the direct relations between President Andrzej Duda and President Joe Biden are very good,” he added.

Following the conclusion of the private talks between the two leaders, President Biden was taken to the Warsaw International Airport, boarded the Air Force One, and departed from Poland.

The B9 summit

“We are meeting almost exactly on the anniversary of the event which has forever changed the history of our part of Europe, and which has an impact on the security situation across the world,” said President Duda during the meeting, referring to the full-scale Russian aggression of Ukraine, which started on February 24, 2022.

The Polish head of state clarified the agenda of the summit, which included determining the “next steps in the run-up to the B9 summit in Bratislava, and the NATO summit in Vilnius, and about the possibilities to provide further support to Ukraine.”

President Biden recollected how during his tenure as a U.S. senator, he was one of the strongest advocates of opening NATO membership to “many of you sitting around this table”, referring to former Warsaw Pact countries and ex-Soviet republics.

“And the irony is, that one of the last conversations I had with our friend in Russia, was, I said: ‘You keep asking for the Finlandisation of NATO, you’re gonna get the Natoisation of Finland.’” said President Biden of his attempts at talks with the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

“Well it happened,” Biden quipped.

“As NATO’s eastern flank, you’re on the front lines of our collective defense,” Biden said. “And you know better than anyone what’s at stake in this conflict, not just for Ukraine, but for the freedom of democracies throughout Europe and around the world.”

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He praised the assembled leaders for “[stepping] up to reaffirm our shared commitment to all these values”, which he had also discussed two days earlier with President Zelenskyy during his unannounced visit to Kyiv.

He also reiterated the determination of the U.S. to uphold its commitment to defending its allies.

“I’ll say it again, is absolutely clear. Article 5 [of the NATO treaty] is a sacred commitment the United States has made. We will defend literally every inch of NATO. Every inch of NATO,” said the U.S. President.

He said he was looking forward to further discussion on how to strengthen the alliance, saying that it is a way “to keep our alliance strong and to further deter aggression.”

“It’s what literally is at stake, it’s not just Ukraine. It’s freedom,” Biden told his fellow leaders. “The idea that over 100,000 forces would invade another country, after a war since World War Two, nothing like that has happened. Things have changed radically. We have to make sure we change them back.”

Klaus Iohannis, the President of Romania, said that the purpose before the allies and the ways to achieve it are clear.

“To make sure that this brutal war against Ukraine is Russia’s final act, we also must be resolute in deterring further aggression and rolling back the current one,” said Iohannis. “NATO is standing strong, and showing clear commitment towards Ukraine and its people. The B9 is stronger than ever.”

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, has warned that peace may yet remain a distant prospect.

“One year since the launch of Russia’s invasion, President Putin is not preparing for peace. On the contrary, he is preparing for more war,” Stoltenberg said. “So we must sustain and step up our support for Ukraine. We must give Ukraine what they need to prevail.”

“We don’t know when the war will end, but when it does we need to ensure that history does not repeat itself. We have seen the Russian pattern of aggression over many years: Georgia in 2008, Crimea and Donbas in 2014 and then the full-fledged invasion of Ukraine last year. We cannot allow Russia to continue to chip away at European security. We must break the cycle of Russian aggression,” concluded the Secretary General.

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