Nato eastern flank members say they support one another
Bucharest Nine (B9), the nine Nato members constituting the bloc's eastern flank, have vowed to support each other in the event of any threat.
The leaders of B9, an organisation formed in 2015, a year after Russia's annexation of Ukrainian Crimea, met at an extraordinary summit in Warsaw on Wednesday. Their meeting was also attended by US President Joe Biden, who arrived in Poland the day before, and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The Bucharest Nine signed a declaration that focused on security issues in the face of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
"We, the Heads of State and Government of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, met today one year since Russia launched its unprovoked and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine," the leaders said in the first words of the declaration.
They added that "Russia is the most significant and direct threat to Allied security" and vowed to "reinforce our deterrence and defense posture across the entire Eastern flank from the Baltic to the Black Sea."
The partners welcomed Finland's and Sweden's decision to join Nato as they reaffirmed their "commitment to the Open Door policy."
The B9 said they "condemn Russia's war of aggression (against Ukraine - PAP) in the strongest possible terms" and added they were "determined to sustain international pressure on Russia."
The leaders also said they would continue to support Ukraine "as long as necessary" and, in an expression of support for Kyiv's EU and Nato aspirations, pointed out that "Ukraine's future lies in Europe".
They said that despite Russia's efforts to destabilise the region, "we are stronger and more united than ever, reaffirming the enduring transatlantic bond among our nations."