When making decisions on military support, individual countries should give serious thought to the steps Moscow may take in response, Ušackas, a Lithuanian diplomat, said in an interview published in the Verslo Žinios business daily on Monday.
“As far as I understand, the US administration is concerned about the consequences of military support and supply of military equipment, the possible Russian response and its specific effects in the territory of Eastern Ukraine,” Ušackas told the daily.
“The issues are very serious, as the risks and threats are real,” Ušackas, Lithuania’s former foreign minister, added.
Lithuania has publicly confirmed having supplied unnamed elements of munitions to Ukraine. The Lithuanian president and foreign minister have repeatedly urged the Western world to provide Kiev with weapons.
Germany, the EU’s most influential country, is against supplying arms to Ukraine. Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently warned that arms supply to Kiev may push the conflict into a new phase, triggering dangerous continuous escalation between Ukraine and Russia.
The US Congress supports arms supply, saying it would help the Ukrainian government defend its sovereign territory against unprovoked and continued aggression of the Russian Federation. US President Barack Obama has so far refrained from supplying weapons to Ukraine, but does not rule this out in the future.
Meanwhile, the Western world says that Russia keeps sending weapons and troops to help separatists fighting in Eastern Ukraine.
In Ušackas’ words, the EU must support Ukraine’s economic and political reforms, stabilize the country, and at the same time “remain realistic and seek points of contact on how the conflict can be deescalated by way of negotiations with Russia,” including talks on gas supply.
“We must admit that we will not go fighting and dying for Ukraine and we will not go to replace Russia, because we will not do this,” said the diplomat.
He restated that, depending on the situation in Eastern Ukraine, the EU is ready to take additional sanctions or revoke them.