Ex-Lithuanian president calls decisions in pipeline for NATO summit 'insufficient'

  • 2023-07-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The decisions being prepared for next week's NATO summit in Vilnius are already insufficient, ex-Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite says.

"The decisions that are being finalized to be negotiated during the NATO summit are already insufficient," she said during a discussion involving regional leaders, taking place at Vilnius University on Tuesday.

Even amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and Russia's constant attacks on Ukraine, Western Europe "lives in a different dimension of time, in a different civilization and they are not able to bridge this gap", she said.

"The question is weather we are too naive with Russia. The answer depends on what you say as we if we mean the west in general than yes," outgoing Latvian President Egils Levists told the conference.

"I don't have any illusion that anything has changed and that central and eastern European will be heard. (…) I have a rather pessimistic view as long as the experiences of the countries that have to actually deal with Russia are ignored," ex-Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said, referring to the West's attitude to the war in Ukraine.

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Reuters news agency last week his country's leader would not attend the NATO summit unless the leaders showed the courage to start the process of Ukraine joining the military alliance.

Kyiv expects a clear invitation for Ukraine to join NATO after the country's war with Russia is over.

The major Western countries, however, would like the NATO summit to focus more on the practical strengthening of cooperation between the Alliance and Ukraine.

"The Baltics have always been realists concerning Russia and we are more realistic now because we have long experience with Russia and we know the Russians and their ideology," Levits said.

"We failed in deterring Russia in general, and we failed in deterring it to stay away from war," Grybauskaite said.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told BNS earlier that the discussion on Ukraine's prospects for NATO membership was the most complex of all the issues at the moment, but that "we can't leave Ukraine in a grey area, making promises, but not giving a very clear algorithm on how to achieve the NATO membership after the war".

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said last week the US would not make special steps for Ukraine to join NATO, despite the Russian invasion, adding that "they've got to meet the same standards".

The NATO summit in Vilnius will take place on July 11-12.

"Probably it will not be historic from the point of view of great agreements but it will be of course a huge step forward," Grybauskaite said.

For his part, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said earlier the upcoming NATO summit would be historic either because of its achievements, or because of its missed opportunities.