Lithuanian foreign minister: Ukraine war caused by failure to learn lessons in Georgia


“Let’s be consistent, let’s begin with respecting our own decisions, then we can expect that others will respect our decisions as well. Why should others respect our decisions when we don’t respect them? The lessons we failed to learn in 2008 were clearly learned by those who are now engaged in aggressive policies. Why shouldn’t they repeat the same scenario? Obviously, they will do the same, if expansion is their policy,” Linkevičius said at a discussion on security matters held at the Lithuanian parliament on Wednesday.

The minister said he was not surprised by Russia’s actions against Ukraine, as the West did not uphold its demands to Moscow after the Caucasus war.


“The situation in and near Ukraine is highly symptomatic. The developments in Ukraine do not involve Ukraine only – it involves us, as well. I am talking about our attitude and ability to understand what is going on there and draw conclusions. And many things are a deja vu, and when we say that we are surprised at how this turned out, we are not sincere. I, personally, am not surprised. After the Caucasus war of 2008, after all the developments, we can certainly discuss about who started everything, who took the first step but we see the result – occupied Georgian territories and military build-up. Let’s look back at the documents that were agreed upon, where we said we’re against, the demands made for Russia so that it could go back to normal cooperation. And a few months later we went back to regular business relations, as it is important for economies and businesses,” the minister stated.

“Tensions of the situation are not only due to the events that took place but also due to our attitude, the lessons that we failed to learn in due time and measures that are sometimes merely ‘half-measures’ or sometimes come too late. We are not guilty for what happens in the hot spits, we are not the cause but, at the same time, we could be the solution, although sometimes we aren’t because we just observe rather than take action,” said Linkevičius.


After the brief 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, the presidents of Russia, Georgia and France signed a ceasefire agreement, which envisaged withdrawal of Russian forces. Nevertheless, Russia’s troops remain in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which it recognized to be independent states. The international community views them as occupied territories of Georgia.

The security discussion was organized by the parliament, the Foreign Ministry and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

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