In an interview to the influential US daily, President Grybauskaitė said that there was a vacuum of leadership in Europe, which was why Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, was allowed to do what he pleased.
“Russian troops are still on the territory of Ukraine. That means that Europe and the world are allowing Russia to be a country which is not only threatening its neighbors but is also organizing a war against its neighbors. It is the same international terrorism as we have in Iraq and Syria,” according to Grybauskaitė.
“The problem is that Putin’s Russia today is ready and willing to go to war. Europe and the West are not ready and not willing to go to war. There is no leadership in Europe or in the world able to stop Putin. Afterwards, we will be surprised that new territories are taken, that new countries are partitioned, and it will be a lot more costly and too late maybe to solve it.”
Unless Putin is stopped now, he will go further, the Lithuanian president thinks. And, she adds, Article 5 of the NATO treaty is not enough to deter him.
“Everybody declares that NATO’s Article 5 will take place. But it will not stop Putin from his plans if he does not see real actions from the European and world leaders. They are only talking. We need to stop him in Ukraine. And until now, that is not understood. That is why I am saying that in Europe today, leadership is taken by Putin, not by the West.”
Russia’s policies are nothing short of terrorism, Grybauskaitė tells The Washington Post: “The danger of Russia’s behavior today is not smaller than what we have with ISIS [the Islamic State] in Iraq and Syria… I think that Russia is terrorizing its neighbors and using terrorist methods.”