Pence: U.S. Will ‘Hold Russia Accountable’

Vice President reaffirms 'unwavering' commitment to European allies

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 19 Feb 2017 at 8:58 AM

Vice President Mike Pence assured Europe during a speech at a security conference Saturday in Germany that the United States “will continue to hold Russia accountable,” even as President Donald Trump seeks to improve relations between the two countries.

During his first major foreign policy speech as vice president delivered at the Munich Security Conference, Pence promised Europe the new White House takes its foreign relationships seriously. Reaffirming Trump’s commitment to “stand with Europe today and every day,” the vice president sought to reassure Europe that the U.S. will not turn a blind eye to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

“Know this: The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found.”

“Know this: The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found,” Pence said, adding that “we must hold Russia accountable and demand that they honor the Minsk Agreements, beginning by de-escalating the violence in eastern Ukraine.”

The Minsk Agreements between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany were designed to de-escalate the ongoing civil unrest, bordering on civil war, in Ukraine’s Donbass region. Pence took a defiant stance in his speech, indicating that the U.S. will not stand idly by as Russia breaches the agreements.

“In the wake of Russian efforts to redraw international borders by force rest assured, the United States, along with the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, will continue its leadership role as a framework nation in the Enhanced Forward Presence Initiative and support other critical joint actions to support our alliance,” Pence said.

The vice president delivered his address as Democrats in the U.S. and the media continue to push dubious narratives about the Trump administration's alleged ties to Moscow.

As for Trump, the president has signaled clear intentions to strengthen, where appropriate, the United States' foreign relations with Russia, much to the consternation of the Left.

"Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only 'stupid' people, or fools, would think that it is bad," Trump tweeted in January prior to assuming the presidency. "We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!"

Pence made clear despite efforts to thaw the Russian relationship, the U.S. will stand behind the other nations of Europe.

"This is President Trump's promise: We will stand with Europe today and every day, because we are bound together by the same noble ideals — freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law," Pence said.

During his speech, Pence also reaffirmed the United States' "unwavering" commitment to its allies and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

"Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance: The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in its commitment to our trans-Atlantic alliance," Pence said, even as he urged the organizations other members to step up and raise the bar on their commitment — something Trump repeatedly called for during his campaign.

"The promise to share the burden of our defense has gone unfulfilled for too many for too long and it erodes the very foundation of our alliance," Pence said. "Let me clear on this point: The president of the United States expects our allies to keep their word, to fulfill this commitment, and for most, that means the time has come to do more."

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