VILNIUS – Central, Northern and Eastern European politicians have urged United States President-Elect Donald Trump to stop making concessions to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as he could view the steps as weaknesses and undertake provocations against the Baltic states and Poland.
"A deal with Putin will not bring peace. On the contrary, it makes war more likely," reads a public letter signed by prominent politicians of the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Sweden.
Among signatories of the letter published in the Washington Post is Lithuanian MP Rasa Jukneviciene, former defense minister, and ex-foreign minister Petras Vaitiekunas.
Authors of the letter say that "Russia's continuing efforts to destabilize Ukraine, and its illegal annexation of Crimea, threaten the peace, predictability, and security that Americans and Europeans created together through our victory in the Cold War."
"We are concerned that the prospect of a new grand bargain with Russia will endanger this historic achievement. It would be a grave mistake to end the current sanctions on Russia or accept the division and subjugation of Ukraine. Doing so would demoralize those seeking a Euro-Atlantic orientation for that country. It would also destabilize our Eastern neighborhood economically and give heart to extremist, oligarchic and anti-Western elements there," reads the letter.
The regional politicians say that, under Putin's rule, Europe had grown far more dangerous due to Russia's militarism, wars, threats, failure to abide by treaties and misleading promises.
"Putin does not seek American greatness. As your allies, we do. When America called on us in the past, we came. We were with you in Iraq. We were with you in Afghanistan. We took risks together; sacrificed sons and daughters together. We defend our shared transatlantic security as a united front. This is what makes our Alliance powerful. When the United States stands strong, we are all stronger—together," the politicians said in the letter.
"Putin views concessions as a sign of weakness. He will be inclined to test American credibility in frontline NATO allies, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. He may use not only military intimidation but also cyber-attacks, energy and economic pressure, espionage, psychological warfare, disinformation and the targeted use of bribery. As Russia's neighbors, we are familiar with these techniques. Countering them requires greater strength, solidarity and resolve from the West—not more accommodation. As your treaty-bound allies, we appeal to Americans in the new U.S. Administration and Congress to stand firm in the defense of our common goals and interests: peace, Atlantic strength, and freedom. United, we are more than a match for Russia's ailing kleptocracy. Divided, as we have seen all too clearly in recent years, we are all at risk," reads the document.
Trump stated last Saturday that good relations with Russia were opposed by dumb and stupid people only.
"Good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing," he wrote on Twitter.
"We have enough problems around the world without yet another one," said Trump, adding that when he is sworn in as the president of the US, Russia will respect the country "far more than they do now" during the presidential term of Barack Obama.
Trump has repeatedly questioned the statements by US intelligence services about the Kremlin's interference with the 2016 presidential elections and attempts to discredit Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton.