Baltic defense line is preparation for possible Russian attack – Lithuanian foreign minister

  • 2024-01-22
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As the Baltic states have recently agreed to create a common defense line on the Russian and Belarusian border, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says the move comes in preparation for a possible attack by the Kremlin.

Landsbergis arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday and says the Baltic states are also seeking to draw the attention of their allies to the threat posed by Russia.

"It also serves as a political message. (...) We do feel the war is close to us, we understand that if Russia is not stopped in Ukraine, it could continue. And then it's Baltic states that would be next," Lithuania's top diplomat told reporters. "So it's not mistrust, it's actually preparing for what could come next."

Last Friday, the Baltic states signed an agreement to create a common defense line on their borders with Russia and Belarus, and it would consist of counter-mobility measures to stop a potential enemy.

The defense ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also signed an agreement on the co-development of the HIMARS high mobility rocket artillery systems.

Landsbergis says countries in the region must not waste time in preparing for possible aggression as time is very limited.

"If Russia is not stopped, we will be those who will be stopping Russia next," he said.

German Foreign Minister Boris Pistorius said last week that Russia would be able to rebuild its lost capabilities and attack NATO within five to eight years. The Lithuanian minister refrained to make any predictions about the Kremlin's actions.

"Nobody has a timeline for Russia's madness," the Lithuanian minister said, adding that "Ukraine is buying us time with their blood, with their lives, with everything that they've got".

"And how much time they buy can, we don't know. We are hoping, with everything that we are doing here, that they can win. But if they could not, then we have to question ourselves whether we have used the time that was bought efficiently," Landsbergis said.

Russia's nearly two-year invasion of Ukraine has reached an impasse, analysts say, after the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive last year failed to break through the Kremlin's defenses.

Among other things, US and EU financial support to Kyiv has recently begun to stagnate due to political disagreements.