“We have to be careful as this threat from Russia is not necessarily the threat we want, it’s the threat Putin actually makes. If we look at the ways Russia engages in hybrid warfare, they attack on all fronts: they attack using money, through corruption, they use information warfare, they use organized crime, they use subversion, they use divide and rule tactics, they use the little green men and they use military. You can only be safe when you’ve covered all the points of vulnerability and it’s not enough to say – we’ve secured ourselves on the things we think are important, we have to secure ourselves on the things Putin thinks are important,” Lucas told journalists on Thursday.
In his words, the Maidan in Ukraine was a wake-up call for Europe but it, unfortunately, fell asleep again.
“Every time I think the West has gotten the message, it shuts its eyes and goes back to sleep again. So it’s not enough of a wake up call, I am afraid,” Lucas said, adding, however, that Putin also sparked positive changes in Europe, especially in the area of defense.
“We need to work more with Sweden and Finland and I am glad that Mr. Putin is helping in waking up the Swedes to the needs to spend more on defense and we should thank him for that. I am glad that defense spending is going up,” he said.
Later delivering a lecture “Lithuanian Lessons”, Lucas said the West did not learn the Baltic states’ lesson in 1991.
“We didn’t listen. And it has been very expensive and painful price of our education, for our Lithuanian lessons. (…) And what is tragic about it, that the price is being paid not by westerners, but by Ukrainians,” the British journalist said.
Also on Thursday, Lucas received an honorary doctorate from Lithuania’s Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be an honorary doctor – I have a rather modest academic career. (…) This is an important new stage of my life to have some academic title as I come from an academic family,” Lucas said.
Lucas works for The Economist, writing on energy security, spying, Russia’s foreign and security policy as well as on political and economic issues in Eastern Europe.