Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not off the table, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on April 15 as he left for a solidarity visit to Kyiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “saber-rattling” on the Ukrainian border could be seen as an attempt to “mobilize his electorate” amid a recent dip in his popularity, according to the minister. LRT.lt reports that Landsbergis is paying a solidarity visit to Kyiv together with his Latvian and Estonian counterparts, Edgars Rinkēvičs and Eva-Maria Liimets. In Kyiv, the top Baltic diplomats are scheduled to meet with Ukraine’s leaders and other high-ranking officials. Mounting tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border are very worrying because they are reminiscent of the situation before Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, according to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda’s chief foreign policy advisor.
“A month ago, there were some signals that the situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border was heating up, but things were not as they are today,” Asta Skaisgirytė told LRT RADIO. “What we see today is a massive troop build-up by Russia near Ukraine’s borders.” This is causing concern not only to Lithuania, but also to the United States and other NATO allies, according to the advisor. “We are watching the situation very closely, with great concern, I admit it, because we see something similar to what happened in 2014, before Russia captured Crimea and started military action in Donbas,” she said.
“The red line of Ukraine is the state border of Ukraine. If Russia crosses the red line it will have to suffer,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at a news conference. “Unlike in 2014, “the West did not waste time to react,” he added. During the joint press conference, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that “the main Baltic message […] is that Ukraine will never stand alone”. He added that it is the Russian Federation that has to stop its activities, move away troops, de-escalate the situation.
The Baltic ministers stressed that the European Union should be prepared to impose further sanctions on Russia due to its aggressive actions in the region. In recent weeks, Russia has built up large number of troops around Ukraine’s borders, which has been condemned by Kyiv, as well as the European Union and NATO.
With news from LRT.lt