Lithuanian PM sceptical about British defence secretary’s warnings of Russian aggression

Algirdas Butkevičius
DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

Butkevičius told LRT radio that the Baltic nations were part of NATO, which made their situation quite different from Ukraine’s.

“I think that Russia cannot use the methods it tried in Ukraine in the Baltic states, because the Baltic states are members of NATO and their security has been reinforced now. I’d be more cautious. I think our status and level of preparedness are completely different from what Ukraine had,” PM Butkevičius said.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon previously warned that Russian president Vladimir Putin could repeat the tactics used to destabilise Ukraine in the Baltics.

That could involve irregular troops, cyber attacks and inflaming tensions with ethnic Russian minorities in nations seen as part of the country’s “near abroad” by Moscow. Fallon said there was a “real and present danger” that such tactics could be used.

“NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia, whatever form it takes. NATO is getting ready,” according to Fallon.

Meanwhile Lithuanian PM Butkevičius said he did not know what made the British defence secretary utter his comments: “Maybe they have information that is unavailable to us. But I don’t believe there is a need for such statements. If they have information, we could exchange it via diplomatic channels.”

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