In his address at the 77th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) in New York on September 20, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda stressed that Russia’s actions in Ukraine have led to a nuclear threat to Europe. He called on international community to distinguish between the aggressor and the victim of aggression.
“These past few months have also revealed the danger of a looming nuclear disaster in Europe. The deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is alarming and totally unacceptable… A nuclear power plant should never be used as a military base!” said Nauseda. Europe’s largest atomic facility – the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Russian-held territory in Ukraine – has become a hot spot of fighting in recent weeks, triggering concerns about a possible nuclear disaster similar to the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Moreover, Ukrainian officials reported that on September 19 the Russian army “carried out a missile attack” on the industrial site of the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear facility in the south of the country.
Nauseda also pointed out that Russia’s irresponsible rhetoric on the possible use of nuclear weapons directly contradicted its role as a P5 state and the commitment it had made in the January P5 Leaders’ Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races.
“We must collectively condemn such actions and require Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all troops from the entire territory of Ukraine. It must also stop irresponsible and dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behavior. This should include withdrawing military and other personnel from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power Plant,” the Lithuanian president said.
Nauseda noted that Russia’s violations of the founding principles of the United Nations did not start seven months ago but have undermined international security for many years. “Today I call on all of you. Look at what is happening in Ukraine. Look at it attentively. Who is the aggressor and who is the victim?” He appealed to member to consider “what is still tolerable and what is not”.
In his address, the Lithuanian president praised Ukrainian people for their courage and resolve to defend their country. “Inspired by their heroic struggle, the international community should take an even more active role to boost Ukrainian resilience to withstand this hardship,” Nauseda said.
He stressed that the ongoing suffering of the Ukrainian people was further amplified by Russia’s proxy – the Belarusian regime. Nauseda reminded members of the necessity to hold aggressors accountable and to stop financing “the bloody war by buying the aggressor’s energy resources”.
During his visit to New York, Nauseda, met with President of the United States Joe Biden. After the meeting, the Lithuanian leader said in a Facebook post that he and the American president shared the same views towards Ukraine. He said that he had thanked President Biden for stringent and strong policy of the United States with respect to Russia. J. Biden told the Lithuanian president to rest assured that Lithuania is “very necessary for us.” (The Baltic Times)