VILNIUS – The European Union's sanctions against Russia have "loopholes" and the West's response to the Kremlin's war on Ukraine is insufficient, Lithuania's former President Dalia Grybauskaite said in an interview with US news channel CNBC aired on Tuesday.
"No, [we are] not [doing] enough at all, neither militarily nor economically. Our sanctions are with loopholes, allowing Putin to survive, to restore the ruble situation. Ukrainian are asking for more and more efficient weaponry and we are lagging behind," Grybauskaite said.
"What we have demonstrated until now is the weakness of the West to react appropriately," she said. "Putin's Russia is with a bloody face; they will never stop until they are stopped. We have a better opportunity to stop them in Ukraine and we are not using this in full."
The EU said on Monday it was working on a new round of sanctions on Russia following the discovery of mass graves and hundreds of brutally murdered civilians in Bucha after the town northwest of Kyiv was retaken by the Ukrainian army.
However, EU leaders have so far failed to agree on an embargo on Russian oil and gas imports, because some of the bloc's member countries are heavily dependent on Russian energy resources.
According to Grybauskaite, Lithuania has always stressed that the Kremlin uses energy resources as a geopolitical tool, which is why it has consistently sought energy independence.
The Lithuanian Energy Ministry said last Saturday that the country's gas transmission system had been operating without Russian gas imports since the beginning of April.
The former president noted that other European countries should follow Lithuania's lead, because trade in resources used to finance the war in Ukraine is "neither ethically nor morally" acceptable.
"We are not afraid; we are ready to fight. We are doing this with our energy posture. We will be paying more for energy resources, but this is the price for freedom and independence," she said. "This is how West needs to react."
Grybauskaite believes that Russia's nuclear threats are no more than intimidation aimed at weakening the West's resolve and, therefore, have to be met with a bold and fierce response.