Lithuania expects Trump to stay firm on Russia, Linkevičius tells Pompeo

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin
AFP / Scanpix

“I mentioned that the meeting is approaching, and we hope that it will reflect the US principled position toward Russia. We do appreciate the US principled and consistent attitude,” the Lithuanian minister told BNS.

Linkevičius and Pompeo spoke by phone several hours after the public announcement of Trump’s planned meeting with Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

Ahead of the US-Russian meeting, Trump, who has spoken critically of the US commitments to NATO in recent years, will take part in the Alliance’s summit in Brussels.

Linkevičius said that Lithuania has no reason to doubt the US commitments to the Alliance, because America has in recent years strengthened its capabilities in Europe and sends its troops for training more often.

The minister reiterated Lithuania’s position that the Alliance must speed up its decision-making and give more powers to its top military commander and that July’s summit has to approve “guidelines for closing gaps in air defense”.

According to Linkevičius, Lithuania supports the US position that other European countries have to improve their defense funding.

“More forces, more exercises, more funds for support projects. We have no reason to worry. We need to focus on what we ourselves have to do to ensure that Europeans adequately assume responsibility,” he said.

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