Eastern Europe no longer Putin's playground – German rep in Vilnius

  • 2023-06-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Eastern Europe is no longer Russian President Vladimir Putin's playground, Michael Roth, chairman of the German Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, said in Vilnius on Tuesday.

"I would really like to apologize to the people of Lithuania as we have ignored security interests and your opinion, the opinion of your countries and your region very often in the past. That's why we have paid a very high price," he told a press conference at the Lithuanian Seimas on Tuesday.

"But Eastern Europe is no longer Putin's playground. All countries in Eastern Europe are free and they are free to choose their own path. And we have to help them to follow this path in line with the rule of law and democracy and international law," the German MP noted.

In the wake of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Lithuanian and German leaders last year agreed on the assignment of a German brigade to Lithuania.

However, it later emerged that the two countries had slightly different positions on the issue, with Vilnius seeking a permanent presence and Berlin saying that part of the brigade should be stationed in Lithuania and the rest should stay in Germany.

Eventually, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced during his visit to Vilnius on Monday that his country was ready to permanently station a brigade in Lithuania, conditional on the necessary infrastructure.

"You know, Germany is sometimes too slow, so we need the encouragement of our friends and allies in Europe. After all, we are not just pragmatists. We are looking for results and we are taking action," Roth said. "I think yesterday's surprise announcement by our defense minister that a 4,000-strong brigade would be assigned to Lithuania sent a message that your security is our security."