By Petras Vaida
May 27, 2015

President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite met with U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, who is of Lithuanian descent. The meeting focused on Lithuanian-U.S. cooperation in the fields of security and energy, as well as bilateral economic ties and possibilities to strengthen them. The security situation in our region and Ukraine was also discussed at the meeting, reported BC presidential press service.

“The United States is our reliable partner with which we maintain strong relations in various fields. In the face of new challenges to our region, it has demonstrated solidarity and support. We must stand united and judge the situation by deeds, not words,” the President said.

According to the President, the United States significantly contributes to enhancing Lithuania’s security. When Russia started military action against Ukraine, the U.S. reinforced the air policing mission in the Baltics, sent its troops for joint military exercises. Successful collaboration with this country is maintained in the framework of NATO.

The President and the U.S. Senator discussed the strengthening of economic ties between the two countries. They underlined that it was important to agree as soon as possible on free trade between the EU and U.S. Lithuania is also highly interested in closer energy cooperation.

Richard Durbin is one of the most influential U.S. senators. He actively supports Ukraine and is a co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus. He is a member of the Senate’s committees on appropriations, judiciary, and administration as well as the defense subcommittee.

Richard Durbin also said that Moscow-backed aggression in Ukraine united both the Ukrainian nation and the international community, reports LETA/ELTA.

The senator has recently visited Ukraine. He told journalists at the Lithuanian Presidential Palace that the US would continue supporting Kyiv’s steps aimed at countering Russia’s aggression. Senator Durbin also stated that agreements reached in Minsk were disappointing because separatists and Russian forces that support them were violating the ceasefire almost daily. Durbin positively assessed the fact that separatist-controlled territory was not expanding recently. Nevertheless he warned that combat could renew any moment.

The senator hoped that this was the end of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, but cautioned for the need to be ready if Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to move further.

Evaluating the security situation of the Baltic States, the senator stressed that NATO’s Article 5 clearly established collective defence of the Alliance, thus any attack against any NATO state would not be a wise move. The senator hoped that Putin would never consider making such step.