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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I’m delighted, as always, to be here with Foreign Minister Baerbock at the start of what is truly a historic NATO Summit.  We are in a place where our Alliance is going to emerge stronger, larger, with Finland and now Sweden about to join, and more united than ever – more united than ever when it comes to the defense of its members, more united than ever when it comes to the defense of Ukraine, faced with this Russian aggression, more united than ever in meeting a whole variety of challenges that we’ve been working on together.

And in this effort, Germany and the United States have been – and remain – the closest of partners, so it’s particularly fitting that we have a chance to compare notes at the very start of the summit.

FOREIGN MINISTER BAERBOCK:  I can just agree.  I think we have seen over the last year that our Alliance is more united than ever, but also that the transatlantic relations between the U.S. and Germany, between the U.S. and the EU, are more united than ever before.  Putin tried to divide us; Putin tried to destroy the European peace order, and this result is the opposite.

I think Vilnius is also the best place to be here with this Alliance, because we see that NATO is our life insurance, and nowhere else in Europe I would say you can feel the heartbeat for Ukraine more intensively than in Vilnius, than in Lithuania.  You can see it in kind of every house – the big banners and poster for the support of the Ukraine.  Even the flowers on this NATO venue are in yellow and blue.

And therefore, it’s no coincidence, but it’s the right moment in time that we underline here that we, as an Alliance for peace, we stand in 100 percent solidarity with Ukraine, as long as it takes.  And we would like to thank for the leadership of the United States in this difficult situation for our European continent, that you have led the way that we could come altogether here united to Vilnius.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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