Lithuania – Strong Supporter of Ukraine; Latvia Expects Cruelty if Invaded
We’re continuing to provide examples of the Baltic States’ strong support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. As we’ve stated, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as x-captive nations of Russian aggression have warned of Russian belligerence and revanchism since the premature euphoria of the USSR’s collapse three decades ago. The Baltic States share Ukraine’s horrendous experience in Moscow’s prison of nations.
Additionally, Latvia’s military commander said his country should expect cruelty if attacked by its recognized opponent – Russia.
This post shows how Lithuania champions Ukraine’s interests.
• The Lithuanian parliament on Thursday, March 17, unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The resolution urges the United Nations to take immediate action to secure a no-fly zone over Ukraine to stop mass civilian deaths. The document calls on parliaments of democratic countries to work towards the opening of humanitarian corridors on Ukrainian territory while technical measures to enforce a no-fly zone are being prepared. This could be done by using the United Nation’s mechanism or by creating a coalition of willing and able states to ensure the safe passage of civilians from the war zones and territories illegally occupied and controlled by Russia, according to the resolution. The document also urges the EU to grant Ukraine candidate status and start the negotiation process.
• Lithuania’s Justice Ministry has proposed setting up a special tribunal in the European Union to ensure criminal liability of Russian and Belarusian leaders for the aggression in Ukraine, the ministry said on Tuesday, March 15. Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska sent an official letter on the matter to EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and the justice ministers of EU member states. The idea of establishing a tribunal was proposed to the international community by the Ukrainian government, as well as by the scientific and legal communities.
• People fleeing the war in Ukraine are streaming into Lithuania. Not only Ukrainian nationals, but also hundreds and thousands of Lithuanian citizens, who were forced to hastily leave the war-ravaged country, according to the Baltic News Network.
Many of them are still reeling from the shock over the loss of their family members and friends and are haunted by the nightmarish memories about the excruciating, extremely prolonged trip to safety, Lithuania. BNN heard some harrowing stories.
According to Lithuania’s Migration Department, 3,135 refugees from Ukraine have already registered in Lithuania, but the actual number of arrivals could be higher. Of the registered Ukrainian refugees, more than a third are children.
The data published by the Lithuanian interior ministry show that more than 11,000 accommodation places have already been prepared for the Ukrainians by Lithuanian municipalities.
Moreover, Lithuanian people have registered more than 7,000 dwellings that could accommodate 23,000 Ukrainians via the NGO Strong Together (Stiprūs Kartu).
• The Lithuanian government approved a shipment of international civil protection assistance to Ukraine, including boats, dosimeters, gas masks, gloves, and balaclavas.
In a separate resolution that was not made public, the cabinet also decided to assist the country in the form of weapons. The total value of the civil protection package and the weapons assistance will amount to around 1.8 million euros.
• Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said NATO cannot underestimate the danger posed by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and must be fully prepared as Europe teeters on the brink of “huge political change.” Landsbergis told RFE/RL in an interview that the events in the three weeks since Moscow launched the attack on Ukraine showed Russian President Vladimir “Putin has to be defeated in Ukraine” to bring about the “end of Putinism.”
“We did not start this…Russia brought its equipment, it brought war to NATO’s border, and NATO has to be prepared,” he said in the interview.
• The war in Ukraine has made Latvia’s potential opponent much clearer – we can expect only cruelty from them, said Latvian National Armed Forces Commander Gen. Lt. Leonīds Kalniņš in an interview to TV3 program 900 seconds.
Kalniņš said Ukraine and its people’s resistance play an “enormous role” in Ukraine’s accomplishments in opposing the Russian army. This justifies Latvia’s efforts in developing its defensive capabilities – since 2017 the country has adopted a concept for comprehensive state defense. Latvia’s people are a major part of this concept.
The most important factor in any defense, as demonstrated by Ukraine’s example, is the preparedness of the people in defending their country – what they created, restored and want to develop with hopes for economic welfare. This means societal cohesion, moral readiness and strength of will, which is on a very high level among Latvian residents, said Kalniņš.
“I am very optimistic when I see members of our society actively join the National Guard – as of today we have received more than 1,800 applications in a span of 25 days. This is three times more than what we normally receive every year. This tendency indicates that Latvia’s society is prepared to protect what they have been given,” said the commander of the country’s armed forces.
Latvia was one of the first countries that supported Ukraine with supplies of arms and weapon systems that have proven effective in combat.
“The result is that, for example, Russian helicopters stopped flying in Ukraine’s air space during the day, because Ukraine has close-range weapons and Russia has major losses of military equipment,” said Kalniņš. “We should be grateful to Ukrainians, because they demonstrate how important it is to protect your home country,” said the military commander.