Valdas Adamkus: this summer and this year could be decisive

Valdas Adamkus at the Seimas. Photo V. Skaraitis

“This summer, this year, could be decisive in the duel between democracies and autocracies”, says former president Valdas Adamkus. He said that if Russia is not defeated on Ukrainian soil, it could be defending itself in the European Union (EU) capitals and NATO within a few years, Agnė Černiauskaitė writes in .

Mr Adamkus made the remarks on July 7 during a visit to the Seimas, where the Centennial Conference commemorates the centenary of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the US.

“If we, as the West, failed to provide all possible military support to Ukraine, if we fail to defeat the criminal Putin regime in the occupied lands of Ukraine, if we all run out of patience and once again make another bad peace with this criminal regime, in a few more years we may have to defend ourselves from the Russian army in the capitals of EU and NATO.

If we want to preserve peace in Europe for decades to come, we must defeat the Putin regime with no effort, no money, and no regard for all our short-term interests, because the price of not doing so in the long term will be incomparably higher”, he warned.

He criticised those who talk about pragmatic politics

The former head of state pointed out that today we must be particularly vigilant when we still hear talk of pursuing pragmatic policies with autocratic regimes. We have already paid dearly for this ambition.

“The harbingers of pragmatic politics on both sides of the Atlantic can now look at the land of occupied Sakartvelo and Ukraine, which is being burned every day and watered with the blood of innocents, and admire the results of their ‘pragmatism’,” said Mr Adamkus.

The outgoing President welcomed the EU’s decision to consolidate the European perspective for Sakartvelo and to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.

“This admirable moral geopolitical decision should also be an encouragement to NATO itself, whose membership has been so long-awaited by both Tbilisi and Kyiv,” he noted.

According to the former Head of State, “it is not the Munich talks, not the new Yalta, but the long experience and wisdom of Kyiv, Vilnius, the capitals of our region, that must become the essential guide for the Western world”.

“Then we will truly succeed in creating a free and indivisible Europe. The vision that we set out together 30 years ago”, said Adamkus.

“We must all wake up together from the illusion”

As the outgoing President stressed, looking to the future, we should all be interested in achieving the goal US President Joe Biden set – democracy must win, and autocracy must lose.

“But to achieve this goal, we must do everything we can in the coming years to make our societies, our economies, our defence systems even stronger, more resilient and more integrated with all other free countries around the world.

We must collectively wake up to the illusion that interdependencies with dictatorships like Russia or communist China will increase our structural strength or sovereignty”, he pointed out.

In 30 years of independence and a century of diplomatic relations with the US, we have matured to make this a free world, said Mr Valdas Adamkus: “Let us take up this task urgently.”
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