Courtesy of the Baltic News Service (BNS)
March 11, 2014
Being a NATO member country, Lithuania is in a totally different security situation from Ukraine and in that sense Lithuania has already freed itself from the field of Russia’s post-imperial ambitions, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says.
In a Monday interview with the national television LRT’s program ‘The Right to Know’, the president said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s certain ambitions might be deemed morbid and having become hostage to them, Russia is becoming an unpredictable country. But, according to Grybauskaite, the aggressor cannot be feared and Lithuania will not make the historic mistake for the second time.
“One can never fear the aggressor as this is what aggressors wants. No matter what the country is, what is the size of it, we have to know that we cannot make the historic mistake for the second time, i.e., we will have to show resistance and fire shots, if someone tries to occupy us,” the president said.
She noted that besides the six additional US fighter jets that have been sent it to bolster the Baltic air policing mission, Lithuania, if needed, would get even more assistance.
“We are lucky as we are a member of NATO, we have additional fighter jets, and if there’s a need, there will be even more. If needed, there will be ships in the Baltic Sea that will defend us. We have already moved on, we have freed ourselves from the field of post-imperial ambitions. Naturally, now influence comes in a different form – via our politicians, via the media, via propaganda, via certain money and even corruption, via, most probably, destabilization of the situation in our region, via influencing political decisions etc. But these are already other measures, these are not direct military measures this country will definitely not be able to use against a NATO member,” Grybauskaite said.
In her words, the events in Crimea reflect a clash of attitudes. It is painful and might be harmful to everybody.
“What is happening in Ukraine, especially in Crimea, has shown that the response, international instruments are too-civilized. I don’t want in no way say that they should be different. But we are dealing with a different civilization or an attitude to civilization. If the West are in the XXI century, so I would attribute the behavior we see now to, at best, the middle of the last century. The clash is very painful. Everybody will suffer in such a situation. I mean Ukraine, the US, Europe, everyone as, most probably, we’ll have to get to some sanctions, not only diplomatic, not only political but also, most probably, economic, and everyone gets hurt in such a situation,” the Lithuanian president said.
In her words, “Putin’s Russia is becoming an example of aggression and is demonstrating power practically against everyone – alone against everyone.”
“All countries in the United Nations Security Council have condemned Russia but in their propaganda there was only their ambassador’s statement and not a single critical statement by other countries. So we see that this country reflects, most probably, ambitions of one person, is, most probably, hostage to morbid ambitions. When you hear the president of another country accusing Lithuania or Poland of training, for example, hitmen, you cannot even comment. (…). Of course, I could start joking that we are being overrated of being capable of training and toppling governments. But, of course, it is black humor. And the fact that the head of another state can take the liberty to make such morbid accusations, of course, shows that, in fact, we might expect more surprises from this country in the nearest future,” Grybauskaite said.
In the Lithuanian president’s words, Russia is giving Europe a great opportunity to get to know it better and to preserve its own face.
“Somebody was still trying to say that we cannot put a lot of pressure on Russia as we might need to let it save face and give it an “exit strategy.” I said very clearly that Europe needs to save face and not Russia as the latter has no plan to save face. It lost it long time ago, it’s only Putin’s face. Europe still doesn’t realize what is happening and still doesn’t realize that it’s the time for Europe to make up its mind and save face,” the Lithuanian president said.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in Kiev, Russian forces took over control of Ukraine’s Crimea region where a referendum on the peninsula’s accession to Russia is planned on Sunday, with the West already calling it illegitimate.