U.S. Vice President Mike Pence salutes soldiers next to Estonia's President Kersti Kaljulaid as they visit NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission and Estonian troops in Tallinn, Estonia July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday assured the Baltic states of U.S. support if they faced aggression from Russia, telling them that Washington firmly backs NATO's doctrine of collective defense.Pence's comments to the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, ahead of Russian war games on their doorstep, were clearly intended to reassure following Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and U.S. President Donald Trump's early lukewarm support for NATO. During a visit to NATO's Brussels headquarters in May, Trump jarred allies by not restating U.S. support for a critical portion of the alliance's charter and instead berated some members for not spending enough on defense.
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