Priority access to the Port of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece has allowed the U.S. military to continue to support Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion, according to chief of the Pentagon.
On July 18, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed the Greek Minister for National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos. They discussed the strengthening partnership between the U.S. and Greece, including cooperation on defense upgrades and collective protection, particularly in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The defense relationship between the United States and Greece has never been stronger,” reported Austin.
“The updated U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement reflects our nations’ unshakeable commitment to shared peace and security. And it has enabled the expansion of U.S. forces in Greece to support the United States’ and NATO’s objectives for strategic access in the region,” he added.
Austin mentioned two examples of that partnership, including the continued hosting of U.S. Naval forces at Souda Bay and priority access granted to U.S. military forces at the Port of Alexandroupolis, just 60 miles north of the Dardanelles Strait in Turkey.
Port access allows quick entrance to the Sea of Marmara, then through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. “That access allows us to continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine and to counter malign actors and exercise and operate in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region,” Austin reported.
Panagiotopoulos thanked Austin for his leadership of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, adding that Greece remains committed to providing continued assistance to Ukraine.
“The reaction of Greece to the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine was indeed swift and decisive,” the defense minister reported.
“We offered all the assistance we could afford Ukraine, a country that is under attack in violation of every rule of international law. We implement sanctions imposed on the aggressor and, despite the cost to us, we’re willing to contemplate any other type of assistance that will [help]” he added.
Greece’s is a strategically positioned defense partner that can and does provide access to ensure NATO allies defend their mutual interests. Panagiotopoulos reported that part of the world now faces diverse forms of revisionism threatening all nations.
“Greece is a key hub for supporting and … projecting allied presence in a region facing various forms of revisionism,” the defense minister reported.
“Revisionism, whether it takes the form of questioning basic rules governing the international legal order, or whether it is expressed as the pursuit of changing internationally recognized borders – or both, as is often the case – constitutes a major threat to the interests of Greece, the interests of the United States, and the North Atlantic alliance in general. The revisionism of any form is against stability … revisionism must not prevail,” he added.
See the US Defense Department account here.
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