- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. wouldn’t necessarily defend other NATO countries if they were attacked by Russia.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Trump essentially said the U.S. would not abide by the military alliance, one provision of which declares an attack on one to be an attack on all.

He was asked specifically about the possibility of Russian aggression in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, former Soviet republics that already have had their independence snuffed out by a Kremlin invasion once before, in 1940.

“Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations ‘have fulfilled their obligations to us,’” the Times wrote.

All three Baltic nations joined the NATO alliance precisely to help secure their independence against Moscow, which views former Soviet republics as its “near abroad” sphere of influence.

More recently than Josef Stalin’s 1940 invasion of the Baltic states, Russia has used military force to redraw its borders with former Soviet republics.

In 2014, Moscow invaded the Crimean peninsula to seize it from Ukraine and has fomented a pro-Russia separatist rebellion in the eastern part of Ukraine. In 2008, it intervened in Georgia to help establish pro-Russian secessionist republics in the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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