Durbin Reflects On The 75th Anniversary Of NATO, Reiterates His Support For Ukraine

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, reflected on the 75thanniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was established after World War II.  This year, the United States is hosting the annual NATO Summit in Washington, D.C.  There are currently 32 nations that have joined the NATO alliance—most recently Sweden and Finland.  The U.S. Senate voted 95 to 1 to ratify their entry.

“The historic alliance was bound together by the commitment to collective defense enshrined under Article 5 of its charter.  Quite simply, an attack on one is an attack on all.  This simple but powerful commitment to shared defense has helped keep the peace in Europe for generations.  It has deterred and protected member nations from Soviet threats of the past and now Russian threats of the present,” Durbin said.

Many nations that were previously part of the Soviet Union have joined NATO—including Lithuania—the country where Durbin’s mother immigrated from.

“Under the leadership of my friend and former President, Valdas Adamkus, Lithuania joined NATO along with its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia in 2004.  Two years ago, President Adamkus was honored by the Lithuanian parliament for his contribution to the nation’s integration into NATO and the EU.  And today, Lithuania is one of the alliance’s most outspoken voices… They have vocally supported Ukraine, welcomed Belarusian and Russian democratic voices, and hosted last year’s NATO summit, which I was honored to attend.  My mother would be proud of her birth country,” Durbin continued.

This week, Durbin and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senate Baltic Caucus Co-Chairs, will introduce a resolution recognizing the strong U.S.-Baltic relationship and important contribution of these nations to NATO.  Over the years, Durbin has joined his colleagues to attend various NATO Summits hosted in other member nations. 

Durbin continued, “What struck me at these summits was the sustained resolve and common purpose in defeating Russia in its war against Ukraine.  Our NATO allies, many former captives of the Soviet Union, have enduring memories of war.  They are determined to not allow Russia’s imperial actions in Ukraine to prevail.  I want to recognize President Biden’s clear-eyed leadership in galvanizing and reinvigorating the critical NATO alliance and its support for Ukraine.   Let’s put the cards on the table: under former President Trump, the future of NATO was in doubt... When President Biden took office, that changed immediately.  He made this alliance alive again at a time when it was needed now more than ever with the situation in Ukraine.”

“Despite Putin’s warped paranoia to the contrary, NATO is not a threat to Russia.  But it will defend every inch of its members’ territory from Russia or any other attacker,” Durbin concluded. “I believe Ukraine’s future rests ultimately within NATO and until then, the United States and our allies must continue to support its defense against Russia.  I think Lithuanian President Nauseda argued this well: Europeans understand that Ukraine’s fight is their fight and it’s our fight too.  I share the sentiment.  So, on this 75th anniversary, let us recommit to this historic alliance that has served the world so well in maintaining stability and freedom, and let us continue to work toward peace.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.