PM Butkevičius: Lithuania should avoid strong-worded statements on Russia

Algirdas Butkevičius, Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis
DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

“I believe certain words should sometimes be avoided. Because I have to face and meet with intelligent young people from Russia. They keep asking the question in certain conversations and they take it as an insult. And some of them hold truly pro-Western views,” Butkevičius told journalists at a congress of the ruling Social Democratic Party on Friday.

He also supported the criticism leveled by his party fellow Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Lithuania’s European commissioner, at President Dalia Grybauskaitė, saying that Lithuania’s reference to Russia as a “terrorist state” led to unnecessary panic on the possible occupation of Lithuania.

In response to Andriukaitis’ criticism that the president keeps going to European Council meetings rather than the prime minister, Butkevičius admitted that he had agreed with the president that she would represent Lithuania at the European Council.

“I can be open and say: when I was proposed for the post of prime minister, I spoke with the president of the republic. She told me she had and agreement with the earlier prime minister, Andrius Kubilius, that she would attend meetings of the European Council. And she said she wanted to have the same agreement with me that she continued the work. I gave her the promise that she can continue attending the meetings – and she’s actively attending them, we later share the information,” said Butkevičius.

Andriukaitis, who was announced honorary chairman of the Social Democratic Party on Friday, criticized Grybauskaitė, saying that the right for prime minister to attend the European Council meetings “has been usurped for six years”. He also said that Grybauskaitė’s idea of building a monument to Lithuania’s interwar President Antanas Smetona was “unbelievable”.

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