Baltic states ready to provide "non-military and military support" to Ukraine

On December 20 Latvia’s Defense Minister Artis Pabriks and his Baltic counterparts, Lithuania's Arvydas Anušauskas and Estonia’s Kalli Laanet condemned the efforts of Russia and Belarus to destabilize the security situation in Europe.

The ministers were meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania to discuss the current security situation at the EU borders with Belarus and Ukraine.

A statement issued by the Latvian Defense Ministry said the trio "condemn Russia's efforts to divide Europe into spheres of influence and deny sovereign countries’ rights to determine their own future. Any decision on possible dialogue with Russia cannot be based on Russia’s demands or preconditions. European and, especially Baltic security, has gravely suffered from such agreements and ultimatums in the past.

The Baltic defense ministers also condemned "Russia's efforts to limit the possibilities for Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO in the future" and "continued violations of weapons-control treaties" Restoring the transparency of the activities of the Russian Armed Forces would be a serious step towards a de-escalation of the situation, they added.

"Baltic Defense Ministers also point to concerns about the increased focus of Russian military forces on its borders with Ukraine. By expressing its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state, Russia is called upon to respect international agreements by ending its illegal occupation of Crimea, as well as by stopping military support to separatist groups in the areas of Luhansk and Donetsk," the statement said.

"Given the legitimate concerns and the need to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities, the Ministers of Defense of the Baltic States stress their immediate readiness to provide non-military and military support to Ukraine, including weapon supplies."

 

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia "will increase the readiness of their armed forces and take planning measures to respond to any kind of escalation," the statement added.

A build-up of Russian military forces near Ukraine's borders has been observed in recent months. The U.S. and EU have threatened Russia with strong economic sanctions if Russia attacks Ukraine.

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