VILNIUS – Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas on Friday called on the European Union to pay attention to the recent build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders, the Defense Ministry said.
"We have to be proactive and not to become passive observers as Russia is conducting an unusual military build-up on Ukraine's borders, because a posture of appeasement and retreat does not address the tensions and concerns that arise," the minister said in a statement after meeting with General Claudio Graziano, chairman of the European Union Military Committee, in Vilnius.
"The situation is complicated by Russia's disinformation and psychological operations against Ukraine. Our support can strengthen the common policy of deterrence toward Russia," he said.
The EU should support Ukraine's determination to reform its defense sector, Anusauskas said, adding that this support will have an impact not only on the security and stability of Ukraine, but also on that of the bloc.
At the meeting, the minister also thanked the general for the EU border agency Frontex's assistance to Lithuania at the border with Belarus, noting that "proper coordination of national and EU efforts is an effective tool in the fight against illegal migration".
For the EU to be a major geopolitical player, all of its member countries have to spend more than 2 percent of their GDP on defense, according to Anusauskas.
"Europe will not strong by building real capabilities, rather than through declarations," he said.
In Lithuania, Graziano also met with Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupsys, members of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, and Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the speaker of the Seimas.
The general was also scheduled to travel to Lithuania's border with Belarus to meet with border guards and the troops assisting them.