Lithuania joins demarche to France over Macron's comments on Russia

  • 2022-12-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania joined a regional demarche to France in response to President Emmanuel Macron's comments on security guarantees for Russia, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis confirmed on Tuesday. 

"To my knowledge, yes, it did," Lithuania's top diplomat told reporters in Vilnius. "The aim was to express concern over and give an assessment to recurring proposals to negotiate with Moscow and to provide some kind of security guarantees." 

"We believe that it is Ukraine that needs security guarantees first and foremost," he added.

The Reuters news agency has reported that the Baltic countries and several other European nations upset at Macron's comments "formally lodged disapproval and explained their position to France" on Monday.


The demarche was initiated by the Czech Republic, which holds the EU Council presidency, and handed to France's Foreign Ministry by Czech, Latvian, Estonian and Polish diplomats. It was also signed by Lithuania and Slovakia.

In the document, seen by BNS, the seven countries say that it is Ukraine that needs security guarantees, not the aggressor, and that they reject the idea of security guarantees for Russia because it has "no interest in peace".

Among other things, the document says that it is not the Alliance that scares Russia, but Western values such as freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, something that Europe cannot abandon. 

According to the Czech-initiated letter, Russia does not respect its international obligations and any concessions to the regime "will only encourage it to be even more aggressive".

The seven countries warned against repeating the mistakes of the first half of the 20th century, referring to the First and Second World Wars.


In an interview with France's TF1 channel last Saturday, Macron said that Europe should think "how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table".

That provoked new concern in Kyiv that the French leader was again seeking to balance his support for Ukraine's war effort with diplomatic outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Elysee Palace said later that Macron's comments about offering Russia security guarantees had been taken "out of context" and that the French president was repeating his long-held view that a negotiated settlement would be needed to end the conflict.

In his interview, however, Macron also stressed that France would not put pressure on Ukraine to stop its struggle to regain the territory occupied by Russia.


On security guarantees for Ukraine, Landsbergis said that they are basically linked to the country's potential membership of NATO.

"Lithuania is strongly in favor of security guarantees to be eventually provided by NATO," he said. "In other words, (Vilnius says that Ukraine) has the right to become a member of NATO and to have the same security guarantees that Lithuania has."  

Europe's security architecture must start with Ukraine, "by engaging it, defending it and then defending ourselves together with it", and not with Russia, the aggressor, according to the minister.

"I don't have any other idea," he said.   

Landsbergis echoed Kyiv's view that talks with Russia can only be held when it capitulates and compensates Ukraine for the damage, and when those responsible are brought to justice.