VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda did not criticize ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conversation with authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for geopolitical reasons, his adviser says.
"Chancellor Merkel's call really sparked controversy. The Lithuanian president chose not to criticize the German leader. Why? The choice was purely geopolitical as Germany is our NATO ally and its troops are leading the NATO mission in Lithuania," Asta Skaisgiryte said in an interview with the delfi.lt news website, published on Monday.
She pointed out that even critics paid attention to the fact that "the illegal migration situation at the border with Belarus started stabilizing after her call".
"It's a result of smart politics," the adviser said.
Merkel and Lukashenko discussed the illegal migration crisis at the EU's doorstep twice in November. These were Western leaders' first conversations with Lukashenko since the contested presidential election in Belarus in August, 2020.
The ex-chancellor's move sparked controversy among Western countries. In Lithuania, it led to tensions between the presidential office and the Foreign Ministry after Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said he had not been informed about these conversations.
The head of state, however, claimed to have informed the minister about one of the mentioned conversations.
More than 4,200 irregular migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus illegally so far this year. Lithuania and other Western countries accuse the Minsk regime of orchestrating the unprecedented migration influx, calling it "hybrid aggression".