Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with counterparts from the Bucharest Nine (B-9) Countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
Secretary Austin affirmed that the United States stands united with its Central European Allies and that the United States’ commitment to defending NATO territory is ironclad. The Secretary also shared condemnation of Russia’s sham referenda in Ukraine.
The Secretary lauded the steps taken at NATO the day prior and commended Allies for the steps they have taken to bolster NATO’s Eastern Flank and to provide security assistance to Ukraine.
Secretary Austin further called on Allies to maintain resolve to deter Russian aggression. The Secretary stated that despite Russia’s best attempts to divide us, the United States and its NATO Allies remain united and stronger together.