By Andrius Sytas, Anna Ringstrom, and Louise Ireland
February 28, 2015
Russia said on Friday it had formally complained to Lithuania that the Baltic country’s supply of weapons to Ukraine violated its international arms trade commitments.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – part of the Soviet Union for much of the last century – worry that Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in Ukraine may be a foretaste of it reasserting itself in other former Soviet territories.
“The Russian ministry of foreign affairs has pointed out that such supplies represent a direct violation of Lithuania’s legal commitments in the area of export of armaments,” the Russian embassy in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius said.
Russia said Lithuania was violating the international Arms Trade Treaty as well as European Union and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe agreements.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Reuters that Lithuania has supplied weapons to Ukraine this year but had not violated any agreements.
“We have supplied help to the Ukrainian army in small quantities and openly, and yet we are reprimanded by the country that continually supplies arms to the conflict in Ukraine, in non-symbolic quantities, and denies doing so,” Linkevicius commented on the complaint, sent in a letter from the Russian foreign ministry to the Lithuanian embassy in Moscow.
Lithuania said this week that it plans to restart military conscription to address its growing concerns about Russian assertiveness in the Baltic region.