On January 4, 2022, the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden to address the situation regarding Ukraine and the massive Russian military buildup along its border, along with escalating threats of a renewed invasion. The Kremlin menace impinges the security situation of the wider region, including for the Baltic countries, our frontline NATO allies, and impacts the United States, and international order as a whole, which the Putin regime calls into question. The upcoming Russia talks give the United States an opportunity to convey a clear message to the Kremlin to back off, or face the consequences.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
With anticipation and trepidation, the Baltic-American community is looking ahead to next week’s talks between the United States and Russian Federation on the situation related to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine. We value your administration’s consistent and ongoing resistance to the Kremlin’s aggression in the region and support for our allies and partners. It is an opportunity to make crystal clear once and for all, that Russia is on the wrong path and must pull back.
It is especially important with over 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, poised to massively increase the deadly and devasting toll in Putin’s almost eight-year war against that country.
Besides this warmongering by Russia, Baltic Americans are alarmed by the Kremlin’s recent public demands to withdraw U.S. and NATO military forces from its former Soviet “sphere of influence.” This ultimatum underscores Putin’s revanchist ambitions and is an obvious non-starter. Having the U.S. and NATO present is crucial for regional stability, as our Central and Eastern European allies and partners agree.
On December 27, you signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. The legislation authorizes $150M for the Baltic Security Initiative, $300M for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4B for the European Deterrence Initiative in FY2022. And in the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would require your administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2, to help take the option of Russian energy blackmail off the table.
These are all critically important measures to ensure that the “Kremlin creep” does not proceed. With that said, military assistance to Ukraine is needed now, particularly surface-to-air missiles, and other key capabilities. In addition, support for NATO allies, especially for frontline states like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, must be increased.
We agree that it is vital now to also increase the cost on Putin’s revanchism by implementing both sectoral sanctions and human rights-related sanctions as prescribed by Magnitsky laws. The daily barrage of disinformation and cyber-attacks by the Kremlin’s organs also deserve a very robust response. We must fight the Putin regime’s narrative, which increasingly sanctifies and glorifies the evilest aspects of Soviet rule.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership and the steadfast support for Ukraine and our friends and allies in the region. Best regards in this New Year.